News: Children should not start formal education until they are at least six.
Children should not start formal education (that’s sitting down to read, write do maths etc) until they are at least six. So says the devastating attack on our schooling by the largest study of Primary Education for 40 years. The Cambridge Primary Review, led by Professor Robin Alexander recommends putting us in line with the rest of Europe by continuing with the play based learning which now goes on in Nurseries and Reception classes for at least another year. They argue that many children are introduced to formal reading and writing before they are ready and are ‘turned off’ by a lack of success. There is certainly a great deal to be said for this approach, as our European counterparts, including Wales, seem to be much more successful with educating their children. Many four and five year olds have not developed sufficiently to be taught to read and write at 5. They immediately start to fail, this leads to disenchantment and a negative attitude to the next 10 years of school life. It really is a waste of time and effort trying to teach children before they have matured sufficiently to understand the concepts involved. However, there are also a large number of children who are ready, who are really keen and excitied about the more formal aspects of learning and can't wait to get going. Perhaps the real problem our education system has lies with the underlying premise that all children should be progressing at more or less the same rate through more or less the same curriculum. The survey also calls for the abandonment of the SATs, claiming they are too narrow and not fit for purpose. Unfortunately, the Government do not appear to be listening.