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Stop damaging nursery children

DR JULIA Whitburn's research findings on the negative effects of early formal learning on subsequent performance in maths (TES,January 28) confirm the findings of other studies.

Moreover, since her research pinpoints the neglect of "social and behavioural skills" as the crucial variable, it seems highly likely that her findings will apply to educational peformance in general, and not merely to maths.

In the light of these and other transparent findings, it will be extraordinarily irresponsible if the Government persists with its massively over-prescriptive formalisation of our early-years learning environments.

Dr Richard House, Norwich Steiner Education Initiative, 13 Denbigh Road, Norwich

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