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Should Two Year Olds Go To School?

Ofsted’s head Sir Michael Wilshaw says nurseries aren’t preparing children for primary school and that children as young as two years old should attend school

Sir Michael Wilshaw thinks that nurseries aren’t preparing toddlers for school – and some are even lacking basic writing and numeracy skills. He made the comments as part of Ofsted’s first major report on childcare and education, being launched today.

As part of the report, he will call for more primary schools to provide toddlers with better early education – particularly those from poorer families.

Sir Michael thinks nurseries are ‘letting down’ children from less affluent families and claims that two thirds of children from these backgrounds start school lacking the ability to communicate, write or count properly – placing them two or three years behind their classmates from well-off backgrounds.

At the moment, around a third of primary schools have something called ‘early years provision learning’ facilities, where the teachers have an input in the education of the toddlers. But Ofsted’s approach could mean thousands of children aged between two and four years old being enrolled in school-based nurseries.

The head of Ofsted’s comments have provoked major backlash with many authors, academics and nursery leaders slamming his approach as ‘catastrophic’ for children’s mental health, reports the Telegraph.

‘Assessment at a young age would undermine natural development,’ Davina Ludlow, director of told the Mail Online. ‘Rather than giving two-year-olds tests, we should be giving them the opportunity to learn through interaction and play.’

Sir Michael’s approach is all part of Ofsted’s move to shakeup the inspection of young childrens’ learning, which, as well as looking at early education, will call for parents to be given more help with finding high-quality childcare.

Do you think children as young as two should go to school? Let us know in the comments box below.

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