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English Association response to the Rose Review

 

In response to the Interim Primary Review of December 2008, the Early Years and Primary Education Committee says:

 

Schools can't teach English effectively unless children have songs and stories, talk and play from the moment they're born. (See the Literacy Trust site for the 'Talk To Your Baby Campaign)

 

We would like to focus on four main points of the Rose Review:

 

1. Rose does not address the current over-focus on literacy SKILLS due to tests, targets and league tables.
'I loathe literacy, but I love books' was the comment of one of our members' children. EA wants all children to love books, but most children today are just learning to loathe literacy.
The best target would be for every child to enjoy reading books by the end of primary school (measured on anonymous questionnairing of the children).

 

2.  We are concerned by Rose's suggestion of an earlier start to schooling for summer-born children. If the provision offered were real play-based 'kindergarten' nursery practice (as projected in Wales), this would be wonderful.  But in England, the facilities available and the current school culture suggest that it'll be a further 'schoolification' of childhood.  We believe this will do far more harm than good.

 

3. Rose places great emphasis on the place of ICT in primary schooling. All the evidence now points to the probability that screen-based technology in the early years is positively harmful (see the work of Dr Aric Sigman and others).  We therefore believe that screen-based technology should not be used for educational purposes till children are at least eight years old. They need first-hand experiences, stories, song, talk and play first in order to learn language.  Then they need to learn to read and write. After that, the sky's the limit in terms of ICT.

 

4. The Rose Review -- though it claims to be independent -- was commissioned by government and (by its own admission) has a government remit.  Such a review is likely to lead to 'more of the same' -- and it is increasingly clear that 'the same' doesn't work.  We are more interested in the truly independent Alexander Review of primary education, to be published in the late spring.

3 Mar 2009

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