Early-years' secret weapon

11th August 2000 at 01:00
IT does not surprise me to read that Chris Woodhead and the early-years lobby are at loggerheads over the start of formal education (TES, July 28).

As far as I know the chief inspector has no training in early childhood education. It is an iniquity that he should be in charge of the inspection of standards in early-years provision.

It is, however, heart-warming to realise that MPs on the education select committee have revealed such unanimity on delaying formal schooling. Several of us early-years specialists met the committee when it visited Bristol recently and were impressed at how the team listened to why so many of us wee pressing for raising the school entry age.

We do have a secret weapon up our sleeves - the foundation stage for children between the ages of three to six. It is only one step to say that in line with this and the enlightened early learning goals, children will start formal schooling as a rising 6.

It appears that there is government funding available for many of these initiatives. All it needs then is for staff and trainers to make sure the foundation stage vision is implemented with confidence and commitment.

Patricia Chubb

Recently retired infant headteacher

6 Edyths Road

Sea Mills, Bristol

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