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Poor reception

Schools that embrace the foundation stage are not doing four-year-old pupils a disservice (TES, February 23). The curriculum is age-appropriate, and with careful differentiated planning four-year-olds will thrive. There is, however, a valid concern about staffing levels. We have full-time qualified teaching assistants in our four reception classes to support teachers. This term, we are employing an extra assistant to work with small groups on much-needed language extension activities.

To function successfully, reception classes need a minimum adult-child ratio of 1:10. It is a travesty that an education system that purports to value the early years is so heavily under-funded. In financial terms, a reception child is worth considerably less than a sixth-former. Change the funding and you will see an immediate rise in standards, attainment and levels of well-being among reception children and staff.

Sue Walker. Headteacher, Northfleet, Kent

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