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Sound basis for beginner readers?

Ofsted's call for improvement in literacy and calculation for the under-fives needs to be tackled head-on to stop the domino effect of late intervention in early-years education, especially if the 2000 Foundation Stage Curriculum guidance is to be a success (TES, March 9).

The grassroots problems behind skills gaps at the foundation stage, such as lack of guidance on gender roles and English as a second language, highlight the need to recruit intelligently in the sector. There needs to be a personnel focus on language support assistants, ethnic minorities (both from a language and role-model perspective) and more male nursery nurses to plug the gaps in language and boys' confidence that curriculum theory evidently isn't meeting.

Professional status in the early years and the drive for more training and qualifications in this sector offer a chance to boost quality in the foundation-stage, but it is essential that recruitment choices accurately reflect education needs at this critical stage in children's development.

Peter Flannery

Managing director, Select Education, Luton,

Bedfordshire

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