School is no place for 4-year-olds

27th March 2009 at 00:00

Your article on the controversy continuing to rage over school starting age rightly exposes Sir Jim Rose's quite inexplicable recommendation that school starting at four be made compulsory, immediately after he set out the disadvantages for summer-born four-year-olds starting school at this age ("When's their number up?" TES Magazine, March 20).

Pre-school children are ready to learn, but they are not ready enough for teaching - and many are deemed as "failing" for missing targets that are inappopriate to their development, which they could have reached a year or so later without fuss.

Everyone except government seems to know that four is the wrong age to move children into primary education.

Adapting reception classes to a more play-based approach is simply missing the point; children are still whisked away from age-appropriate settings at a sensitive time when the crucial foundations for development and learning are still being established.

We can only hope that every conceivable expedient for this indefensible Rose proposal is comprehensively refuted when Robin Alexander's independent Cambridge Primary Review is published later this year. Hopefully then, politicians will stop this unjustifiable drive towards "early learning" and allow children to develop uninterruptedly at their own pace.

Margaret Edgington and Kim Simpson, Open EYE Steering Group, Richmond, Surrey.

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