The battle recommences. From the noise of battles between EY specialists and the Labour Government at the height of its sense of power in the 90s come similar misunderstandings from the present Government. Liz Truss, whom I have mentioned before, has again become part of the whirlwind, although a quick trawl of the web this evening finds that her interjections today are not visible, not even on her own website. Puzzling: if I can find her words later, I’ll link them, them, of course.
As a sideline, it should be noted that BBC reportage is, as so often, skewed, so that it reports on “Starting School.” It’s not about the date of entry, or the age of the child, but of the pedagogy, the approach to teaching and learning, that best supports a child for their learning today and their learning tomorrow.
The Save Childhood Movement echoes (?is a reincarnation of?) the Toxic Childhood movement that gained media attention with Sue Palmer’s book. Its very attractive website (linked here) has some powerful things to say about how “Play is not a frivolous thing,” “Some of the best and deepest learning is slow” and “Healthy neurological development relies on real experiences in the real world” – http://www.savechildhood.net/summit-key-points.html#sthash.sUcLRySP. Nothing I’d disagree with, and I see the points, too, that they make in their letter to the Telegraph today.
I’m tempted to suggest that the division, however, doesn’t exist where the battle lines have been drawn. It’s not about formal learning being needed earlier for disadvantaged children; it’s also not about well-being and play taking over the whole curriculum. For me, it’s about how people who know – and the list of signatories to the Telegraph letter contains a host of people who do know – deserve to be listened to by policy makers.