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Are nurseries failing to prepare children for school?

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A shocking new report from Ofsted indicates that many children are leaving nurseries without being able to read or write, and in some cases, without knowing how to hold a pen. Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw states that children in the poorer areas of the UK are suffering the most, with only a third reaching the expected levels during pre-school education.

Structured Learning Needed

Sir Michael believes that a more structured approach to learning is needed to ensure all children are prepared for Primary school. This goes against advice from child experts who have promoted the use of play in education rather than traditional methods of teaching. Experts also believe that formal learning can have a detrimental effect on younger children.

Setting the Foundations

The report from Ofsted indicates a relationship between early-years education and the level of learning throughout a child’s education. The Chief Officer says that higher achieving nurseries have been found to be those that are attached to schools, and he believes this is because headteachers “can track the progress of children in those school-based nurseries all the way into reception and beyond and make sure they do well”.

Misleading Information

Despite Sir Michael’s comments, there are those positive results evident in the report which should be highlighted. National Day Nurseries Association head Purnima Tanuku points out that the results indicate “80% of private and voluntary day nurseries are actually delivering good or outstanding quality.” The Pre-School Learning Alliance is also disappointed with Ofsted’s views, and a PLA spokesperson says, “We are at a loss to understand why Sir Michael has essentially dismissed the existing huge network of experienced, passionate group settings and childminders who currently provide excellent, and appropriate, care for young children despite chronic under-funding and a never-ending wave of ill-researched, ill-thought-out early-years policies.”

Learning for Life

The Department for Education is keen to reiterate the impact of early-years education on later learning, and supports Ofsted’s view that teacher-led, structured lessons are the only effective option for pre-school children.

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About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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