Doubts over 3Rs in early years

11th September 1998 at 01:00
Karen Thornton reports from the British Association conference in Cardiff on moves for a reformed science curriculum, on a plea for a broader sixth-form curriculum and on research into how parental help can raise standards in mathematics

One of the country's leading scientists has challenged the wisdom of teaching the 3Rs to four-year-olds, urging schools to teach them social skills instead.

Professor Colin Blakemore, the outgoing president of the British Association, also called for a broader sixth-form curriculum, and attacked Britain's further and higher education systems which, he said, are decades out of date.

He told the conference that international evidence does not support a policy of formal teaching and testing in the early years.

"I believe it would be more efficient for such young children to concentrate on 'learning to learn' and on developing group cooperation in problem solving, " he said.

Post-16 education is the area needing greatest reform, argued Professor Blakemore, of Oxford University. The three A-level sixth form course should be replaced with a broader, European-style curriculum, he suggested.

* FE Focus, page 37

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now