The Foundation Phase is a national reform programme of the Welsh Assembly Government that has been developed to improve the quality and continuity of provision for children aged 3–7 years. It is based on a more experiential and play-based pedagogy and seven areas of learning. This paper reports on the final evaluation of the Foundation Phase pilot for 3–5 year olds which ran from 2004–2006 in 41 settings across the 22 local authorities in Wales (Siraj-Blatchford et al., 2006). Most stakeholders have received the Foundation Phase Curriculum with enthusiasm and some settings made very good advances in their implementation of the Foundation Phase within the short period of the evaluation. But the evaluation also found evidence of a significant overall reduction in the quality of staff-child and child-child interaction, and in provisions for early literacy. The perceptions of improvements in language development and oracy skills held by many practitioners and some advisors were found to contrast significantly with these findings. Practitioners' understandings of key concepts such as experiential learning and play varied greatly and the proportion of trained teachers was found to be directly related to quality in all of the pilot settings and classes. The overall quality of provision was also found to be significantly higher in maintained settings compared to non-maintained settings.
How to Cite:
Siraj-Blatchford I. & Milton E. & Sylva K. & Laugharne J. & Charles F., (2007) “Developing the Foundation Phase for 3–7-year-olds in Wales”, Wales Journal of Education 14(1).