Heed the literacy warning;Letter

3rd April 1998 at 01:00
You are to be congratulated for the timely inclusion of the article entitled "What's the rush then?" (TES, March 20), at the same time as announcing the new national literacy strategy.

Sadly Michael Barber and Chris Woodhead are enthusiastic about a strategy which, while being a step forward for some infants, will condemn others to failure.

Many of us were trained in the 1940s and 1950s to take account of maturational factors involved in achieving learning readiness. We achieved educational standards second to none in the world. In the 1970s and 1980s we faced the difficult task of remedying learning failure resulting from children not having developed the linguistic and motor perceptual skills necessary for success in early reading, writing and numbers. Let's hope David Blunkett will take the advice of teachers with years of experience.

We would be happy to debate the issue with Messrs Barber and Woodhead. The latter, however, seems reluctant, despite the fact that our literacy and numeracy standards are well behind those of certain European and Far Eastern countries which have abandoned, for three to six-year-olds, the very approaches he seems to demand.

PETER WILDBLOOD, Retired headteacher, Holte Road, Atherstone, Warwickshire

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