Thursday 24 July 2008

Denying a fair chance for all

It may well be the case that the government has too many targets in its Foundation stage. And middle class parents whose children are unlikely to grow up illiterate and educationally disadvantaged should, perhaps, have much more choice to send their offspring to Steiner or Montessori schools. But to imagine that the very children whose poor education the Times and other media bemoans several years later will ever catch up without a decent early years education - as today's letter from children's authors does - is fantasy of the first and worst order. If the government doesn't set some minimum pre-literacy goals - to be achived by age seven - do we really believe that every child will have a fair chance of success? Of course, play matters. But seven year olds should be reading too. They might even advance to Philip Pullman and Michael Morpurgo if they are not consigned to poor literacy from the start.

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