Ex-Archbishop recommends delaying school till seven

(43 Posts)
straggle Tue 29-Oct-13 23:52:02

In most places year 1/primary 1/first grade starts at age 6. I saw a very good documentary on education in Finnland where kids start at 7.

abbiefield Wed 30-Oct-13 09:05:58

Personally I think he is right. From a psychological/developmental point of view its a good point to start too. However, the social structure of this country would not tolerate it. Too many people need child care. It would require a complete change in thinking and policies.

MissMarplesBloomers Wed 30-Oct-13 09:10:04

I totally agree, state funded nurseries until then to adddress the childcare issue & let the kids learn through play, going into more formal education at 6/7.

Works in Scandanacia amongst others, & I don't see any reports of huge learning defecits in later life.

Rosa Wed 30-Oct-13 09:13:25

Works in Italy we have state ( and private) preschools 3-6 generally play loads of activities then the last year preparation for elementary starting at 6. My dd started at 6 ok her handwriting is not as good as that of her English equivalents but her reading and maths certainly are . ( seeing the state of Italian schools I am not sure if she will continue to be on a par when we move into secondary !)

LittleRobots Wed 30-Oct-13 09:16:24

Its so the opposite of what Gove will ever want though isn't it. He seems opposed to anything not measurable and opposed to play based learning. :-(

itshowwedo Wed 30-Oct-13 09:18:12

hellokittymania - and that's basically true here too. YR is mostly learning through play and getting ready for Year 1. We're not dramatically out of step.

And we definitely shouldn't be listening to ex Archbishops, just on a point of principle. I mean, as Archbishes go, he's my kind of guy, but he really wouldn't be my point guy on, say, education or child psychology. Just sayin'.

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 30-Oct-13 09:20:49

Same in Switzerland, formal education starts at 6, there is kindergarten which is not compulsory,but recommended.

So there wouldn't be further demands for childcare, just less pressure on children in the reception years of 4-5 years old. Kids here go on hikes, sing songs, play, cook, learn how to listen and interact at that age.

At 6 they are then expected to become formal - desk based learning, so a big switch over.

One thing they'd need to take into account is class sizes though. With less years dedicated to early years education you can't really have a class of 34 children (as was the size of my DS class before we left the UK) I'd have thought. Class sizes here are generally capped at 18 so there is plenty of teacher:pupil time.

LittleRobots Wed 30-Oct-13 09:34:15

I would love to see smaller class sizes. My daughters pre school had about 25 children and at least 4 staff . Her school reception has 28 and 2 staff. The individual attention made the difference.

ReallyTired Wed 30-Oct-13 20:59:55

When was an archbishop ever an expert on education. My daughter loves reception and has lots of play. I suspect that critics of the early starting age of British children have never set food in a reception classroom.

I feel that current OFSTED regime where head teachers are reduced to being suidical is more of a concern than the early years.

teacherwith2kids Wed 30-Oct-13 21:34:33

Well, he was always more of an academic than an 'archbishop' in many ways - if it said 'Fellow of Oxford college says .....' would it change our view of whether the person was speaking with expertise?

ZZZenagain Wed 30-Oct-13 21:59:59

I agree with this actually. I feel starting too early leads many dc to feel they are not good at schoolwork, that they cannot do maths, that reading or writing is difficult, etc. I would much prefer more time spent playing, in particular being outdoors in all weather, being active - and also working with their hands (cooking, woodwork, pottery, even hands-on work such as building a fence together, painting a wall, if relevant etc). They should be read to but not have to learn to read IMO and sit down to do formal learning from books

Wallison Wed 30-Oct-13 22:04:56

I agree with him, actually - if you look at countries where the start of formal learning is later, they have higher literacy rates than we do. Mind, those countries also tend to have better societal provision in all sorts of ways, so it's difficult to say which helps. I mean, social divisions are much less marked in those places, and I think there is some indication that poverty is the greatest barrier to learning. We're just not very enlightened in the UK in lots of ways.

FranSanDisco Wed 30-Oct-13 22:09:15

I work in Reception and class size is 30 with one teacher and myself (TA). Our LA wanted us to take up to 5 more children this year which was challenged by Head.

Although the curriculum is supposed to be very play orientated the amount of pressure on getting these 4 and 5 yo to read, write and learn numbers has increased substantially over the last year as they are underperforming in Yr 2 (SATS). It doesn't seem to matter if they are developmentally ready or not. I have an EY degree and find it hard to reconcile this with my job atm. We need to slow down.

Wallison Wed 30-Oct-13 22:10:01

Oh yes and I'd definitely scrap the Y2 SATs, having watched my son go from being a happy engaged pupil who had a real thirst for learning into being a stressed-out miserable wreck by the time the 3rd term in Y2 rolled around, due to his teacher constantly telling him what level she expected of him, panicking if he had a day off "because you want to do well in your exams, don't you", sending the class home with a whole booklet of fucking comprehension exercises to be done in the Easter holidays etc. He's only just now getting to like school again and he's in Y4! It did him an immense amount of damage and, contrary to what the teacher's aim was, definitely slowed down his progress.

MavisGrind Wed 30-Oct-13 22:18:55

I teach Reception and definitely agree about starting formal schooling later. I have 4 year olds who simply aren't ready to learn to read and especially write and yet, the expectations of those who set the agenda means that I have to get them reading/writing.

I just can't understand why, if we have to follow the model of another country, it can't be Scandinavia rather than Asia.

FranSanDisco Wed 30-Oct-13 22:19:12

It annoys the pants off me when a child who can't hold a pencil is expected to trace over yellow highlighter in order to tick a box on a literacy sheet. It should be developmental stages of children not their ages that guide formal learning.

Wallison Wed 30-Oct-13 22:22:40

FranSanDisco, it must be immensely frustrating for you; I mean, you actually know what you are talking about, you know what you are doing, you understand the theory and the practice, and yet some idiot with a portfolio (and an agenda) comes along and tells you to ignore everything you have learnt because he thinks it will buy him votes with Middle England.

Talkinpeace Thu 31-Oct-13 20:15:32

but then at the same time we have posters on the Primary board moaning that little Tarquin is not getting enough homework in year R ....

stargirl1701 Thu 31-Oct-13 20:19:39

I agree with him. I think there should state funded nursery play based provision (non-compulsory) from age 3-6 with formal schooling beginning at 7.

MotherBlackCap Thu 31-Oct-13 20:20:05

Many countries have kindergarten that helps deal with the socialisation stuff, then a later start to formal learning, I remember reading that the UK has a higher rate of dyslexia as some children's brains are just not ready aged 4/5, and learning to read at 6+ makes it easier all round.

cory Fri 01-Nov-13 10:21:57

Scandinavia has a system of tax subsidised high quality childcare with highly trained staff and places for everybody. If the British taxpayers are willing to pay for that, fine... But that's what it would take: I don't think we can now go back to a system that depends on one SAHM/family.

Saracen Sun 03-Nov-13 03:36:57

abbiefield: "the social structure of this country would not tolerate it. Too many people need child care. It would require a complete change in thinking and policies."

I've never properly understood the school-as-cheap-childcare argument. Compared to other forms of childcare currently available in this country, school isn't that cheap to the taxpayer. It costs what, about £6k a year for a child to be in a state school? Children are in school for about 1000 hours a year, so £6 an hour.

If people agree that early formal schooling is not educationally beneficial/necessary, and we look only at the childcare costs, for £6 an hour shouldn't we be able to finance much better adult:child ratios and a better quality of childcare overall than we are currently getting at school?

Quite a few countries start formal learning later than we do. I agree with it. I think there is far too much pressure on children in deception and year 1. Boys in particular are just not ready and with regard to writing are not physically ready to write. In fact I think Denmark start boys a year later than girls. I knew a Danish woman who had boy/girl twins and she said this was the case.

We could still have 'school' for that age. Just delay the reading/writing. Call it kindergarten - play, socialisation, etc. just no formal learning.

And don't get me started on SATS!

MM5 Sun 03-Nov-13 08:45:06

Well, the archbishop has every right to say what he thinks of education. Goves has no eduction training, yet he is making some very big and dangerous decisions about the education system.

We push you g children far to quickly. Many are not developmentally ready until 7. By that point in England, they already think they are failures.

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