This chapter traces the development of early childhood education considering lessons that we can learn from the past and challenges that have now emerged, including changes in parenting, increases in poor behaviour, the technological revolution, increases in mental health issues and childhood obesity. Despite the many positive changes prompted by the Start Right Report (Ball, 1994) there is still an issue with underachievement of children particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds. Early childhood education is being accused of not delivering the outcomes promised by the Start Right Report and Evidence from the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education Project (Sylva et al., 2010). However, a key point that continues to be missed is that the early childhood stage covers from birth to age 7 not age 5. We have created a barrier between Reception and Year One with an unreliable and invalid assessment system (the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP)) that is masking underachievement. Rather than promoting a campaign to raise the school starting age, the chapter advocates re-defining early childhood education including replacing the EYFS and EYFSP with a new Key Stage 1 framework from birth to 7 years.

I have designed the proposed Early Years Framework taking into account changes in society and the latest research. If this bold step is taken we will enable our children to start right, giving them roots to grow and wings to fly.