Delay school entry until six, researchers urge
Published: 16th May 2012 13:55:43
Schooling in England should not start until the age of six because having formal lessons too early can put bright children off learning, research claims.
Formal lessons should be delayed at least a year, says Dr Richard House, of the Research Centre for Therapeutic Education at Roehampton University.
Dr House is calling on the government to slow down the "premature adultification" of children.
But the government says each additional month of education is of benefit.
Children in England are expected to be in school by the age of five, earlier than most of their European peers.
However, many start in nursery or reception classes at age three or four.
They are taught using the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) compulsory curriculum - a revised version of which will be used from the autumn.
Each additional month of education benefits a child's development and achievement by age 11”
Presenting his research at the Westminster Education Forum on Wednesday, Dr House said too early an emphasis on reading, writing and maths could lead to weaker academic performance in the long term - and even poorer health.
"There are of course some children from very deprived backgrounds who on balance would, and certainly do, gain a net benefit from early interventions.
"But the evidence is now quite overwhelming that such an early introduction to institutional learning is not only quite unnecessary for the vast majority of children, but can actually cause major developmental harm, and at worst a shortened life-span."
Dr House cited research from the United States which tracked gifted pupils.
The study found those children benefiting from being allowed to develop at their natural pace.
"Young children's "runaway" intellect actually needs to be slowed down in the early years if they are not to risk growing up in an intellectually unbalanced way, with possible life-long negative health effects," said Dr House.
But a spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "It is vital that all children get a thorough grounding in the basics from an early age - the three Rs form the bedrock of education.
"There is a wealth of international evidence which shows how much each additional month of education benefits a child's development and achievement by age 11.
"The new early-years foundation stage, starting this September, focuses on getting all children ready for education at age five and increasing their attainment."
Dr House added: "More anecdotally, I am myself a living example of the virtues of 'later is better'.
"Coming from a working-class background, I was allowed to repeat my first year at primary school when I first started school in 1958, as I was very young in the class - and I went on to obtain a first-class degree at Oxford University and a PhD.
"I doubt this would have happened if the system hadn't had the flexibility in 1959 to allow me to repeat my first year at primary school - and from the evidence, I would also have been more likely to have had life-long negative health effects and, quite possibly, an earlier death too."
At 08:02:46 in HeadlinesAn "immediate ceasefire" in Ukraine must be the priority for key negotiations taking place on Monday, Russia's foreign minister has said.
At 08:00:52 in EnglandMore than 30 firefighters are tackling a blaze at a landfill site in Dorset.
At 07:56:29 in ScotlandSkin cancer cases have increased two-and-a-half fold over the last 30 years but survival rates have also soared, according to researchers from Glasgow.
At 07:55:14 in HeadlinesPakistan's national television channel has been taken off air after its headquarters were stormed by anti-government protesters in Islamabad.
At 07:54:08 in Northern IrelandThe Stormont Assembly is hopeful it has found a buyer for Ormiston House, a building in Belfast that was costing the taxpayer almost £3,000 a week.
At 07:48:10 in EnglandA motorcyclist has died after crashing while riding on the slip road of a motorway in Hampshire.
At 07:46:22 in EnglandA motorcyclist has been killed in a crash after appearing to lose control, Kent Police said.
At 07:45:04 in WalesSpeed restrictions signs have been put up outside half the schools in Flintshire in time for the start of the new term with the remainder due to be complete by October.
At 07:44:31 in SportBradford Bulls have signed Salford Red Devils winger Danny Williams on a two-year deal.
At 07:43:31 in BusinessA single, larger hub airport where passengers can transfer to a range of destinations - is "critical" to the UK's long-term economic growth, says the CBI.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Delay school entry until six, researchers urge [Online] (Updated 16th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1428981/Delay-school-entry-until-six-researchers-urge [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]
News In Other Categories
Bradford Bulls have signed Salford Red Devils winger Danny Williams on a two-year deal.
More than 30 firefighters are tackling a blaze at a landfill site in Dorset.
Speed restrictions signs have been put up outside half the schools in Flintshire in time for the start of the new term with the remainder due to be complete by October.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Skin cancer cases have increased two-and-a-half fold over the last 30 years but survival rates have also soared, according to researchers from Glasgow.
Negotiations between the Tories and Lib Dems are expected to continue ahead of the unveiling of a new plan to tackle the threat of Islamic extremists.