Should children as young as two start school to improve their social skills?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Category: Media

Radio: Today, BBC Radio 4; 05/11/2013,  6:52

Naomi Eisenstadt of Oxford University participated in a discussion prompted by recent suggestions by the chair of Ofsted that children should start school as young as two to improve their social skills.

Naomi says:

“Baroness Sally Morgan, the chair of Ofsted, was reported as saying that two year olds from poorer families would benefit from some experience of formal schooling. Her full statement suggested that the ‘pupil premium’ should apply to three and four year olds as well as children of statutory school age, and more resources should be dedicated to preschool children from poorer backgrounds.

I made clear in the very brief interview that I agreed on the pupil premium and extra resources for young children, but stressed the importance of quality in what was offered. The key factor in high quality is well qualified well paid staff, and all early years settings would benefit from improvements in training. I also pointed out the importance of the home learning environment. The foundation of language development is laid down in the first two years of a child’s life. More could and should be done to encourage parents to read stories, sing songs and talk to their babies.”

The Radio 4 interview is available, for a limited time only, here. Naomi’s contribution is at c.52:00 on the iPlayer clock.