When should formal learning start?

11th July 2008 at 01:00
I am staggered to learn that Beverley Hughes, the children's minister, did not see fit to disclose some of the advice of the Early Education Advisory Group
I am staggered to learn that Beverley Hughes, the children's minister, did not see fit to disclose some of the advice of the Early Education Advisory Group. Keeping her advisers' intervention from public scrutiny enabled her department to ignore widespread concern about the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

We need an explanation as to why this professional advice - to extend the foundation stage to the end of Year 1 and to change the school starting age to six - has been suppressed. Both of these highly creative suggestions sit comfortably with those of us who are deeply concerned about compulsory targets for children below the compulsory school age.

If the Welsh Assembly can show its understanding of the true nature of childhood by extending its foundation stage to the age of seven, then please can Ms Hughes give us an explanation as to why children in England cannot also continue to learn informally until six or seven, in line with their developmental readiness?

K Simpson, Nursery proprietorpractitioner, Richmond, Surrey.

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