Laying the foundation for more disaffection

2nd February 1996 at 00:00
So English children perform less well than their continental counterparts ". . . despite having been at school 18 months longer" (TES, January 19). Could we gain a new and important insight into the reason for our children's underachievement if that much-repeated comment was reversed? Should it read ". . . because English children start formal schooling 18 months earlier"?

It seems a very powerful and significant difference that has received little examination. The original reason for children starting formal education in this country at five was a combination of chance and politics, based neither on educational insight or theory.

Maybe other countries have had the wisdom to recognise that starting extensive formal and written maths is not only inappropriate but counterproductive for children under 7. Some of the demands of the present national curriculum in maths, plus the accompanying standard assessment tasks, for children aged five to seven, would seem set to perpetuate our problems.

Are we laying an even surer foundation for further disaffection - a disaffection that is already the subject of much concern in the later years of schooling?

ANNABELLE DIXON 82 Duncombe Road Bengeo, Hertfordshire

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

Comments

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