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'Don't interfere'

The Steiner-inspired Acorn School in Gloucestershire (pictured) is applying for exemption from the early years foundation stage. Graeme Whiting, its head and owner, has asked his local authority to exempt the school, for pupils aged three to 19, from many literacy and numeracy goals.

He also wants other aspects of the foundation stage to be modified to reflect the school's view that children should not be taught reading until they are older.

"I would close the school rather than kowtow to all the EYFS things," said Mr Whiting. "I object to anyone interfering with a ship that is running very well."

A recent Ofsted inspection found the school was good with outstanding features - particularly for children's personal development.

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