Hampshire Conservative MP: “We start too much formal learning too soon”

It may be just coincidence, given Hampshire County Council’s more progressive approach to admissions for summer born children than many others, but in a recent debate, Havant’s Conservative MP David Willetts said:

…there are stages of mental development to which styles of learning are appropriate. I think one of the problems in English education is we start too much formal learning too soon. I’m not aware of evidence that starting to learn to read early or even starting maths early particularly helps you. Some of the continental systems that outperform us start formal learning later.

As the former Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP was involved in The great education debate (transcript published Feb 5, 2015):

Education policy has experienced tumultuous change and often polarising debate over the past 30 years. But what are the facts: has our education system improved in that time? Is teaching too child-centred? Should we prioritising skills or knowledge?

“To answer these questions, Demos convened a roundtable of leading education policy thinkers including former minister David Willetts MP. What follows is an edited transcript of that discussion.

With thanks to Michelle Melson for finding the debate information.


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