Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Evaluating the Foundation Phase

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WISERD is undertaking an independent evaluation of the Foundation Phase early years education policy for the Welsh Government.

The Foundation Phase (FP) is an early intervention approach to learning for all children aged three to seven years in Wales. It is based on principles of experiential learning – or ‘learning through doing’ – and marks a radical departure from more assessment-based competency approaches.

The three-year research project (August 2011 to August 2014) will include analysis of educational data and interviews with teachers, parents, local authorities, head-teachers, and the school children themselves. It will evaluate the implementation of the policy and what impact it has had to date. In doing so it will provide advice and guidance to practitioners and stakeholders on its continued development. The research will also assess the value for money of the FP and design a framework to track its outputs and outcomes in the future.

The project brings together a high profile team with considerable experience of research in the areas of early childhood education, policy implementation, school effectiveness and economic analysis. Members of the team have extensive experience of working with Welsh local authorities and schools.

Further information

We will regularly update this website with information and news about the evaluation. The website will also provide a facility for anyone to offer comments and discuss the Foundation Phase and our evaluation.

If you would like to receive news and updates on the research project, please email your contact details to

Media and Communications 

The clip below shows a statement by the Minister for Education and Skills: Evaluating the Foundation Phase Final Report.

Minister Huw Lewis said of the report: “This is a report of the very best kind, I think, because it gives policy makers and professionals tools for the next stage of the job. It’s truthful, it’s challenging, it’s not afraid to point to inconsistencies and insufficiencies within what we have, and it gives us a platform, I think, for some really focused work over the next few years.”

Practitioners conference

On 23rd May WISERD held a conference to offer Foundation Phase practitioners the opportunity to meet to share best practice and to discuss recommendations from the evaluation and the implications these have on the future of the Foundation Phase.

The conference consisted of five workshops, each commencing with a short presentation by members of the WISERD research team followed by roundtable discussions where practitioners were encouraged to share their experiences. 

Presentations from the event are available here.

A transcript of the roundtable discussions had by practitioners is available here.

A summary of the event is available on the WISERD blog.

Further information

For more information about the project please use the menu below.



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