Approaches to primary teaching

Reading your article on Susan Isaacs ("A voice far ahead of her time; Great thinkers in education", TES, September 22), I was struck by the similarities between her views on the purpose and nature of education and the approach of the International Baccalaureate Organisation's primary year programme (Pyp).

It seems that we have travelled in an experimental educational loop over the past 70 years, only to find ourselves back at Ms Isaacs's starting point. Most children will learn the three Rs. We do them a disservice if we force this learning too early, measure it by continually testing so that six-year-olds are deemed to have failed before they have had a chance to learn, and shut down their innate learning mechanisms by curriculum restriction and enforced rote learning.

The Pyp offers a child-friendly education, aimed at developing future world citizens who have lifelong learning skills, are caring, responsible and, to quote Isaacs: "Iare willing to lose themselves in social purposes greater than themselves". What more could we ask?

Nicola Claire Headteacher Brussels English primary school Belgium

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