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

To say reception teachers "have to deal with a lack of understanding among other teachers, headteachers, inspectors and advisers" is an understatement.

From 2005 until July 2009 I was a reception teacher in a small rural school. Our key stage 1 teacher had little knowledge of EYFS and refused to enlighten herself. On several occasions she persuaded the head to request that local authority advisers come into school to check I was teaching phonics and writing to an appropriate standard despite my sound results, my lessons judged as good and my targets met in terms of my performance management.

The final insult came when she published a list of complaints about the standards of children entering her class from reception, which she circulated to the head and all other teaching staff except myself.

I had no choice but to take advice from my union and my representative managed to extract an apology. I stayed another year at the school but my confidence and enthusiasm was damaged and I left teaching.

I accept my colleague was under pressure to reach her targets, but teachers need strong leadership to weather inconsistencies that have arisen in the early years recently.

Former reception teacher, Name and address supplied.

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