Why we need a personalised approach to school readiness

The term ‘school readiness’ comes with a lot of baggage and means different things to different people, Louise Kay argues. The researcher tells Jon Severs and Zofia Niemtus we should move away from high-pressure accountability and towards an individualised approach to early learning

Lots of luggage

The phrase “school readiness” seems, on the surface, simple enough. To the untrained ear, it sounds like it refers to being ready for school. And it obviously does. But to those working in education, or education policy, it’s a lot more complicated than that. So much so, in fact, that Dr Louise Kay, of the University of Sheffield’s School of Education, has led a research project on Reception teachers’ beliefs about the term.

“There is no clear definition about what school readiness actually means and, therefore, it’s open to interpretation,” she says. “There are two main issues that arise ...

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