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Evaluating the Foundation Phase: Update and technical report 2012/13

In this report we outline the progress of the evaluation during the past year (August 2012 to July 2013). We also provide details about Stage II of the evaluation design, which has largely involved the collection of detailed information about the implementation of the Foundation Phase in forty-one schools and ten funded non-maintained settings from across Wales. The Foundation Phase is a Welsh Government flagship policy of early years education (for 3 to 7-year old children) in Wales. Marking a radical departure from the more formal, competency-based approach associated with the previous Key Stage 1 National Curriculum, it advocates a developmental, experiential, play-based approach to teaching and learning. The policy has been progressively 'rolled out' over the last seven years so that by 2011/12 it included all 3 to 7-year-olds in Wales. In April 2011 the Welsh Government, on behalf of Welsh Ministers, invited tenders for a three-year independent evaluation of the Foundation Phase. Following a competitive tender process, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, led by Professor Chris Taylor from Cardiff University and the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD), were appointed to undertake the evaluation in July 2011. The three year evaluation (2011-2014) has four main aims, as outlined by the Welsh Government in its original research tender specification: to evaluate how well the Foundation Phase is being implemented and highlight ways in which improvement can be made (the process evaluation) to evaluate what impact the Foundation Phase has had to date (the outcome evaluation) to assess the value for money of the Foundation Phase (the economic evaluation) to put in place an evaluation framework for the future tracking of outputs and outcomes of the Foundation Phase (the evaluation framework). The first annual report of the evaluation for 2011/12 (Taylor et al. 2013) set out the work of the evaluation during its first year and provided a summary of the research and findings from Stage I of the evaluation design. It also outlined the approach and methodology of the evaluation. This report sets-out the programme of work for the final year of the evaluation, which includes Stage III of the evaluation design and an analytical framework that provides the basis for how the evaluation will organise its analysis and reporting. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
Wales; United Kingdom

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