The head of Ofsted has called for “minimum requirements” to be introduced, to ensure children are properly prepared for education.
Sir Michael Wilshaw has said that parents should be issued with a checklist of essential skills to teach their children, as many infants start school unable to use the toilet or even speak properly, the Telegraph reports.
Publishing Ofsted’s first annual early years report, Ofsted’s chief inspector said that children should master skills such as toilet training, behaviour boundaries, recognising their own name and talking in sentences. “The minimum requirements that every child needs to meet should be so familiar, so well established, so obvious, that you could stop anyone in the street and they could tell you the basics,” he said.
Sir Michael also said that families from the poorest neighbourhoods are being let down by a “confusing” system which is leaving the most disadvantaged youngsters without a decent start in life. He called for the various types of childcare to be rebranded with a common language to make it easier for parents to choose between them, and for the admissions system to be overhauled to give priority places in primary schools to poor pupils.
Nancy Stewart, an independent early years consultant, criticised Sir Michael’s checklist as “very low-level”. “There is a lot of evidence about what counts in children’s later success and it is not putting on your shoes and going to the toilet, and even being able to recognise your name,” she said. “It is things like being confident, being curious and motivated.”
Have you taught five year-olds who lack the basic skills on Sir Michael’s checklist? Share your experiences with the Eteach community!