For Hodge, justread Patten;Letter;Opinion

9th July 1999 at 01:00
EDUCATION minister Margaret Hodge's riposte on the wide spread of opposition to the revision of the desirable learning outcomes is worthy of former education secretary John Patten at his most blustering. (TES, June 25) Indeed, she even used the Daily Mail for the first trumpet blast.

Standards in literacy will not improve by forcing children to jump through developmentally inappropriate hoops and formal schooling; they will improve by the sort of teaching that even the Government's own research shows is at its most effective in local authority-maintained nurseries.

Snide remarks on privilege and advantage sit very ill with the present Labour government's record and show a lamentable lack of preparation by the minister. Were she to check with her colleague Andrew Smith, she would find that my own nursery school, for example, serves a catchment in Oxford with deeply-entrenched social and educational needs.

It is precisely because of my experience of teaching young children from a variety of disadvantaged backgrounds that I feel moved to voice my opposition to the early learning goals. Mrs Hodge's intransigence is set to disadvantage children still further.

Nick Swarbrick Headteacher Bartlemas nursery school 269 Cowley Road, Oxford

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