Controversial plans to set formal goals for pre-school children have overwhelming support, according to the Government's curriculum quango.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has published the results of its consultation on proposals for early-years education. These set out what children are expected to achieve from the age of three to the end of their first year of compulsory education.
QCA chief executive Nick Tate said:" The results show strong support from everyone involved in education of three to five-year-olds - parents, the voluntary, state, private sectors and professional associations."
This is despite opposition from early-years lobbyists and academics and some headteachers.
According to The Pre-School Learning Alliance, the proposals risked "marginalising" play and damaging the development particularly of "vulnerable young children whose home lives may be marked by family breakdown".
The QCA says it wants to address the confusion arising from the absence of a single admission policy to primary school. Children of the same age can be in a nursery, pre-school or reception class, or at home.
The consultation, carried out in England, found that 87 per cent of respondents supported a foundation stage with early-learning goals. But fewer than half the state nurseries backed the literacy aims.
It also found 85 per cent in agreement with the six areas of learning in which the QCA says the goals should be set. These are defined as: personal, social and emotional development; language and literacy; mathematics; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; and creative development.