Too costly to speak to parents

21st November 2003 at 00:00
As a retired English teacher I welcome the Government's recognition of the poor speaking and listening skills that many children possess on entering school (TES, November 7). Perhaps now reception teachers will be freed from ticking boxes to teach some of the most important skills for education and for life.

However, there is a downside to this and it is typical of this Government's well-worn policy of using "education" to solve all society's ills without really spending too much money.

Is this really what Mr Blair meant when he told the country what his priority would be throughout his term of office? Most language learning takes place in the years before compulsory education begins. It is parents therefore who are most responsible for their children's linguistic development.

Is it therefore any wonder that here again we see educational inequalities cemented in place even before a child begins school? Only intervention to help parents with the language learning of their infants will really have a positive effect. However, just consider the cost. Better to have a new strategy for reception classes so that the country can see this Government is serious about its intentions!

Robert Newton

5 Netherdale Close

Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

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