There are many individual reasons why some parents want to wait until their child reaches compulsory school age (i.e. the term following their 5th birthday) before starting school, but news of the latest government proposal — formal testing for all children within weeks of beginning their Reception class — is certainly one reason many choose to wait. The increasingly academic and testing environment of early years teaching is something they don’t wish their child to experience at the tender age of 4.
In an article this week by Sue Learner for daynurseries.co.uk, Government plans to formally test children as soon as they start primary school, child psychologist Dr. Richard House is quoted as saying:
This “betrays a woefully narrow conception of children’s learning… It’s also a grotesque irony that at the very moment when Asian countries are reigning back on early ‘hot-housing’ education because of its massive toll on their children’s mental health, our own Government is actually ratcheting up these toxic educational practices.”
“Current ministers should be held criminally responsible for the rise in child suicide rates and mental ill-health that will inevitably ensue, if these toxic proposals for high-stakes testing are implemented.”
Also, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance says,
“We are concerned that early years and childcare appears to be coming increasingly under top-down pressure from a schools-driven formal education agenda around getting children ready for school. Such ‘schoolification’ is inappropriate for young children and does not take account of their age and stage of development.”
The plans are part of a new consultation – “Primary assessment and accountability under the new national curriculum” – and comments are welcome for submission HERE until October 11, 2013.