That is the question being posed in a new online poll on the Day Nurseries website.
Arguing “Yes” is Dr Richard House, Co-founder of Early Childhood Action, education campaigner, trained Steiner Kindergarten and class teacher.
And arguing “No” is David Laws, Minister of State for Schools and the Cabinet Office (the same Minister who, when answering questions regarding summer born admissions problems in March, promised that his department “will take action if we find that schools are not paying attention to parental demand“).[The baseline testing] policy is being backed by Russell Hobby, chief executive of the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers) as he “firmly believes that the performance of schools should be measured in terms of progress” and says: “In order to measure progress you need a baseline”. However he added that he would like to see assessment “age-adjusted” to take account of the differences between summer born and winter born children.
As far as I’m concerned, ‘age-adjusting‘ test results is largely beneficial only to the statisticians and league table compilers who want their numbers to look better – it doesn’t help the 4 year-olds who will very likely now be pressured ‘academically’ from an even earlier age than before, when pre-schools and nurseries vie to be the best at ‘preparing’ children to do well on this test.
But moreover, I’m concerned that it’s just so accepted now that all children start school at age 4 in England, that the main concern of the CEO of the NAHT is ‘age-adjusting‘ their test scores, instead of ‘age-adjusting’ their entry into school – and making sure that age 5 is an equitable option for all parents of summer born children who want it.