My PhD is concerned with the evaluation of the Foundation Phase in Wales, 10 years on from its initial implementation in Wales. The Foundation Phase is a Welsh Government flagship policy, which heralds a radical approach to early years education. Influenced by the reported success of programs in Reggio Emilia, Scandinavia and New Zealand, it is a child-centred, developmental approach which emphasises the importance of active, play-based, experiential learning.
My research will build on an extensive independent evaluation of the Foundation Phase which identified 12 pedagogical principles and made 29 recommendations to improve delivery, many of which were incorporated into the Welsh Government Foundation Phase Action Plan. My PhD will seek to examine the implementation of the Foundation Phase ten years after its initial roll out, and five years after the first evaluation and subsequent implementation of the Action Plan. It will evaluate changes in delivery and practice utilising many of the research tools and methods from the original evaluation in some of the same case study schools and settings. It will also explore why the Foundation Phase has seemingly had a limited impact on closing the attainment gap between particular groups of learners and identify factors associated with success.