Thursday, October 18, 2007

Test the foetus?

Falling standards? First create your moral panic – by whatever means necessary. There was a great example of that this week with the news that our latest group of failures are the under fives (no honestly). Forty per cent are struggling to write their own name and only 58 per cent of five-year-olds were reaching a “good level of development” in writing. One in three children (35 per cent) did not reach a good level of development in linking sounds and letters, for example through recognising and saying words such as “red” and “dog” or “pen”.

Once again our results obsesesd system has opened itself for ridicule. In most European countries formal education doesn’t start until the age of seven. Many children don’t develop fine motor skills until that age, they aren’t ready to write. Couldn’t the authors of the report have written in large capital letters at the start ‘STARTING FORMAL EDUCATION TOO EARLY ARRESTS CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT’?

What next give the foetus a range of tests, interrogate the sperm? Let’s not go there. As Ted Wragg was fond of saying, ‘When it comes to education irony is dead’.

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