Schools in Wales have seen overall improvements in pupils' educational achievements, well-being and engagement as a result of the implementation of the Foundation Phase.
The findings of a three-year programme of independent evaluation have been published by the Welsh government, which highlights a range of benefits the Foundation Phase has provided for the nation's three to seven-year-olds.
According to the report, pupils in the Foundation Phase are more likely to achieve Level 4 or above in Key Stage 2 English.
Schools using higher levels of Foundation Phase teaching methods have greater levels of observed pupil involvement and pupil wellbeing during learning, while youngsters are also more likely to achieve the Foundation Phase Indicator (FPI).
In addition, the programme leads to improved attendance across the board and better attainment, including for those pupils eligible for free school meals.
Practitioners and key people involved in the delivery of Foundation Phase believe it is having a positive impact on children and learning and leads to improvements in literacy and numeracy.
Education minister Huw Lewis said: "I very much welcome this report. It follows a three year, comprehensive and credible research programme led by Cardiff University and the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods, and tells us that the Foundation Phase really is delivering for our youngest learners, in terms of attainment, attendance, well-being and engagement."
In light of these findings, the report encourages the Welsh government to continue to develop its flagship curriculum. Meanwhile, schools and other settings should do more to implement the principles and teachings of the Foundation Phase in their classrooms.
Designed to provide a developmental, experiential, play-based approach to teaching and learning, the Foundation Phase marks a radical break with the more formal, competency-based approach associated with the previous Key Stage 1 National Curriculum.
Posted by Harriet McGowan