Send the inspector to a nursery

28th April 1995 at 01:00
As early-years specialists, we are concerned about Chris Woodhead's limited understanding of the benefits of nursery education (TES, April 7). His reported view that the evidence is less than conclusive clearly contradicts recent prestigious reports which highlight the value of high quality early education, both in its own right and as an investment for the future.

The report by the National Commission on Education explicitly states that the available evidence is "convincing". This is endorsed by the authors of the RSA Start Right report who are "convinced that there is sufficient research evidence to show clearly the value of early education". How much more evidence does the Chief Inspector need? As the House of Commons Select Committee says, "no other phase of education has been required to give such proof of its value".

We suggest that, as a matter of urgency, Chris Woodhead familiarises himself with the evidence available in order to make a more valid contribution to the current debate about the education of the under-fives.

JULIE FISHER, VICKY HURST, MICHAEL MORGAN

LINDA POUND, WENDY SCOTT

The Early Years Curriculum Group

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