Baroness Morgan has called for children to start school when they’re just two or three, to eradicate the effects of poverty on their performance.
Sally Morgan, who chairs Ofsted, has called for a network of academies for two to 18 year-olds to be set up to ensure that children from deprived backgrounds will be ready for school at five; at present they are 19 months behind their better-off peers.
She wants targeting disadvantaged under-fives to be “the next big, bold, brave move” in the education agenda, the Independent reports. “What a dire start to their educational lives,” Baroness Morgan said, “They have low level skills, they’re not ready to learn at school. Weak parenting, low educational attainments of their parents, poor diet and poor housing all effect the gap between the affluent and disadvantaged as groups.” She added that efforts to conquer disadvantage had been targeted on pupils form five upwards and that there hadn’t been much improvement in provision for the under-fives.
Baroness Morgan’s demand is the latest development in the ongoing debate over the best way to prepare children for school. A new campaign, the Save Childhood Movement, is calling for formal education to be delayed until seven, with play-based activities being adopted in nurseries and infant schools. Richard House, a member of the movement, described her comments as “completely misguided”.
How would you feel about teaching children as young as two? Do they belong in a school environment or do you think formal education should start as late as seven, as campaigners want?