Too early to join the box gang

24th January 2003 at 00:00
I WAS glad that 13 members of the early-years glitterati signed their letter ("Foundation stage is solid", TES, January 17) attacking my objection to the 3,510 boxes that teachers are expected to tick for the early-years profile. Many people who support box-ticking keep quiet about it, as they did about their being the 13 members of the Department for Education and Skills' early-years advisory group.

I was more impressed by the letter from a teacher, as this powerful gang of inspectors, directors, executives and academics are probably begetters of profiles, rather than daily fillers-in of myriad boxes. So they say nothing of premature labelling, or the sheer vagueness of many of the 117 items to be ticked for each child.

I look round the faces of the reception class I teach and think "Children, or tickboxes?". It is no contest.

Sadly, it will become like George Orwell's 1984. We will win the victory over ourselves and grow to love the process and the league tables that will one day ensue. Ticking boxes is neat, does the trick. I shall have Two Minutes Hate every day in protest.

Professor E C Wragg

University of Exeter

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