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The early years are crucial - let's not accelerate children's learning

The QCDA report on the conflict between government targets and developmental aspects of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) makes an obvious point.

In less advantaged areas of the country, it is impossible for schools to provide what children need to make long-term progress while satisfying the short-term demands of School Improvement Partners, based on the Government's literacy targets for five and seven-year-olds.

Children's natural development can be supported by good teaching, but it can't be accelerated. I meet teachers torn between these conflicting demands. Should they do what's best for the child and go into special measures, or satisfy Ofsted and damage their pupils' chances of success in the long term?

Please God, the next government recognises that it can't have it both ways.

Sue Palmer, Independent literacy specialist and author of 'Toxic Childhood'.

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