What is Early Childhood Action (ECA)?

ECA is a new alliance of early years individuals and organisations, founded with the aim of campaigning intensively in the coming weeks and months to influence the government’s final revision of England’s statutory Early Years Foundation Stage. Early Childhood Action is a hierarchically ‘flat’ organisation; that is, it will not be dominated or controlled by any particular organisation(s) or individual(s), and all ‘voices’ which in good faith align themselves with ECA will have equal respect and potential influence.

Our vision is to create a major alliance or ‘coalition’ of authoritative voices from across the early years sector, for whom what collectively unites us, in terms of our concerns about EYFS reform, is far more important than any differences we might have. ECA is strictly non party-political, and has as its overriding aim the well-being and flourishing of all young children, from whatever background, in developmentally appropriate environments which are free of pre-ordained learning or developmental goals.

ECA will draw up an Alternative Foundation Phase curriculum (or AFP), which explicitly addresses the concerns about the EYFS as set out in our Manifesto. AFP will then be formally published by Hawthorn Press, and will be available to download as a pdf document, with the aim of galvanising the sector around an alternative early years framework to which the vast majority can genuinely and enthusiastically subscribe, and which avoids the worst aspects of the current statutory curriculum. We intend that the success of this alternative framework, and the welcome it receives, will be something that government and the Department for Education will be unable to ignore.

There is no joining fee for ECA – it is an entirely voluntary organisation. If we find that funds are needed to help with aspects of ECA’s activities (e.g. setting a new website, travelling expenses to drafting meetings etc.), these will be raised by voluntarily appealing to the membership to cover any significant expenses or participants – but the costs of ECA will be kept to an absolute minimum. We believe that together, we can really influence the Government in the crucial coming months – please join us and help make this happen! Early Childhood Action is giving a strong message to the government that the sector really does have a collective ‘mind of its own’, and will no longer passively accept whatever is imposed upon it, however inappropriate.


  • Tuesday 7 February 2012

    ECA formally launched
    – with a major Press Release and a founding Open Letter circulated to key destinations across the field. Launching of our new website, listing our supporters in full.

  • Spring/Summer

    Launch of The Alternative Foundation Phase curriculum.
    Between three and five respected ECA-supporting authorities from the field will voluntarily compose our alternative curriculum document. Nominations for the Drafting Committee (including self-nominations) must be received by 29 February, and the ECA core group will decide upon the Committee’s composition, seeking as diverse a range of voices as is consistent with drafting the AFP document within a comparatively short time-frame. A list of volunteer expert specialist consultants will also be drawn up, upon whose expertise the Drafting Committee can draw for advice and input in the course of their deliberations.

    A first draft of the AFP curriculum will be circulated to all ECA supporters, so that feedback can be sought from all supporters prior to the final version being written, with feedback being incorporated where appropriate into the final document.