As long as they choose to play

24th September 2004 at 01:00
Education Secretary Charles Clarke's proposals for "extended" primary schools (TES, September 10) are to be welcomed but only if they enable children to make the most of their childhood.

The activities children engage in should be partly of their own choosing; they should have the time, space, materials and freedom to play, create and imagine on their own terms. Teachers and other adults should not be the sole providers or initiators of what children "need" to experience.

The ultimate criteria for success should be the increased happiness and involvement of the children, not help for working parents, not tackling obesity and not providing extra study support for already over-tested children.

Professor Colin Richards 1 Bobbin Mill Spark Bridge, Cumbria

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