Oddly enough - That takes the biscuit

12th September 2008 at 01:00

Some things are just too weird to parody. And it turns out that the prescription of early years education is one of them.

At The TES, we were delighted to see a funny and fabricated piece on the satirical website newsbiscuit.com. Headlined "DCSF to test pupils at birth", it detailed how civil servants were cooking up plans to test reading and writing skills in newborn infants.

"Hilarious," you might think. "Imagine doing such a ridiculous thing." That is until you remember that in the world of education, truth is often stranger than fiction.

It only takes a brief search in the Primary Review to prove the point. "Babies can distinguish simple forms, for example cross versus circle, from birth (Slater et al, 1983)," it says.

"Measure it!," mandarins must be shouting. And then there's: "Meltzoff and Moore (1983) showed that babies as young as one hour old could imitate gestures like tongue protrusion and mouth opening after watching an adult produce the same gestures."

It all makes the newsbiscuit story ring a little hollow, eh?

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