background preloader

Bright children should start school at six, says academic

Bright children should start school at six, says academic
Dr House, who was due to present his findings at a major conference in central London on Wednesday, called on the Government to launch an independent inquiry into England’s school starting age. He said: “The conventional wisdom is that naturally intelligent children should have their intellect fed and stimulated at a young age, so they are not held back. “Yet these new empirical findings strongly suggest that exactly the opposite may well be the case, and that young children’s run-away 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.” At the moment, most English children start school in nursery or reception classes at the age of three or four and are taught using the Early Years Foundation Stage – a compulsory “nappy curriculum”. They then move into formal lessons at the age of five.

School starting age: the evidence In England children now start formal schooling, and the formal teaching of literacy and numeracy at the age of four. A recent letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal ‘schooling’ in England from the current effective start until the age of seven (in line with a number of other European countries who currently have higher levels of academic achievement and child well-being). This is a brief review of the relevant research evidence which overwhelmingly supports a later start to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences to children’s development as learners, and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7.

Compulsory age of starting school in European countries The table is also available to download as a pdf: Compulsory age of starting school in European countries The ages given are those at which children must commence primary education (ISCED 1), understood by UNESCO's International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) as the phase that is designed to give a sound basic education in reading, writing and mathematics, along with an elementary understanding of other subjects. In a number of countries, pre-primary education (ISCED 0) is compulsory and/or most children start school before it is compulsory. In these cases, more information is provided in footnotes. Explanatory notes1 Northern Ireland: has the lowest statutory age of entry to school. 2 Cyprus: Compulsory school age is reached by children who are five years eight months old before 1 September. 3 England: Children reach compulsory school age at the start of the school term following their fifth birthday, which may be in September, January or April.

how-young-is-too-young-ofsted-inspector-suggests-children-should-start-school-at-two-8921281 Baroness Morgan, who chairs the education standards watchdog, called for a network of academies for two to 18-year-olds to be set up around the country so that children from poorer homes were ready for school at the age of five. At present, they are already 19 months behind their more affluent peers when they start compulsory schooling at the age of five. She chose an event staged by the ARK academy chain to mark 10 years of the academies movement, to set out her vision for the future, saying targeting disadvantaged under-fives had to be “the next big, bold, brave move” in the education agenda. “Poor under-fives are still 19 months behind their affluent peers when they start school at five,” she said. “What a dire start to their educational lives. “They have low level skills, they’re not ready to learn at school. Baroness Morgan said the education system collectively “haven’t really taken a grip of this problem”. “We have got to learn from the lessons we now have in London,” she added.

International Education Statistics: Primary school entrance age and duration Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) both aim at universal primary education. All children worldwide should attend and complete primary school by 2015. However, national education systems differ and the meaning of primary education for all children therefore varies from country to country. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) maintains a database with the entrance age and duration of primary education for 204 countries and territories. Table 1: Primary school entrance age Source: UIS Data Centre, May 2010. The geographic distribution of the entrance ages is shown in the map in Figure 1. 6 years is the common primary school start age in most of North and South America, Western Europe, Africa, the Arab States, and East Asia, with some exceptions. 7 years is more common in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. 7 years is also the primary school start age in some large countries: Brazil, China and Russia. Related articles

School enrolment and early leavers from education and training Data from September 2012. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. School helps young people acquire the basic life skills and competences necessary for their personal development. The quality of a pupil’s school experience affects not only their development, but also his or her place in society, educational attainment, and employment opportunities. Table 1: Pupils and students(excluding pre-primary education), 2005 and 2010 (1) - Source: Eurostat (tps00051) and (educ_enrl1tl) Figure 1: Four-year-olds in education, 2010 (1)(% of all four-year-olds) - Source: Eurostat (educ_ipart) Figure 2: 18-year-olds in education, 2010 (1)(% of all 18-year-olds) - Source: Eurostat (tps00060) Figure 3: School expectancy, 2010 (1)(years) - Source: Eurostat (tps00052) Table 2: Pupil-teacher ratio in primary, lower and upper secondary education, 2005 and 2010 (1)(average number of pupils per teacher) - Source: Eurostat (educ_iste) Main statistical findings School enrolment

Children are sent to school too young in the UK | Deborah Orr It's an eye-catching statistic. Almost 20% of schoolchildren in the UK are registered as having special educational needs, five times higher than the EU average. The statistic has inspired an eye-catching book title, too. The Tail: How England's Schools Fail One Child in Five is a new tome edited by Paul Marshall, chairman of ARK Schools, which runs a group of academies. It's not a very good title. Nevertheless, despite this specious and illogical leap, the education secretary, Michael Gove, has endorsed the book. But Gove should tread more carefully. Since economic inequality is higher in the UK than in most of the EU, it would be reasonable to suppose that high levels of incorrect special needs diagnosis may indeed be linked to high levels of socio-economic inequality. So, in that respect, Marshall and Gove are right to be concerned. In most European countries, children usually start formal education at six to seven, rather than our four to five. Some children thrive on it.

Finland's education ambassador spreads the word Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16. Charging school fees is illegal, and so is sorting pupils into ability groups by streaming or setting. There are no inspectors, no exams until the age of 18, no school league tables, no private tuition industry, no school uniforms. Children address teachers by their first names. The national curriculum is confined to broad outlines. It sounds like Michael Gove's worst nightmare, a country where some combination of teachers' union leaders and trendy academics, "valuing Marxism, revering jargon and fighting excellence" (to use the education secretary's words), have taken over the asylum. Yet since 2000, this same country, Finland, has consistently featured at or near the top of international league tables for educational performance, whether children are tested on literacy, numeracy or science.

Finland has an education system the US should envy – and learn from | Linda Moore A new book has attracted much interest in the Washington DC, especially on Capitol Hill, Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn From Educational Change in Finland?. The book arrives after Finland scored first in science and second in reading and math on the standardized test administered by the Program for International Student Assessment. Conducted among industrialized nations every three years, American students finished 25th in math, 17th in science and 12th in reading on the latest PISA assessment. Obviously, in our global economy, this nation's international educational attainment is discouraging for our future prospects. What stands out to me is that Finnish students take only one mandatory standardized test, at age 16. Some of Finland's students' outcomes should be especially interesting to US policy makers. What might really interest some politicians is that Finland spends about 30% less per student to achieve these far-superior educational outcomes.

Primary education in Finland | Children begin their primary education when they reach seven years of age. Pre-school education is intended for six-year olds, who will start their compulsory education in the following year. At the moment over 90 % of the age group participate in the voluntary pre-school education. Comprehensive school provides a nine-year educational programme (with a voluntary 10th year) for all school-age children, beginning at the age of seven. Comprehensive schools are primarily run by local authorities, with the exception of a few private schools. The National Board of Education decides on the objectives and core content by confirming the core curriculum.

UK lagging behind in education Education Secretary Michael Gove said the coalition government's reforms are driven by what happens in countries who performed better than the UK in English, maths and science in the international school league tables published today. Read: UK education performance 'failing to improve' Mr Gove said his radical reforms were inspired by what happens in Singapore, South Korea and Japan, which topped the performance charts. He said the top performing countries, certain common features occur, which he has placed at the heart of the Coalition strategy. Improving social justiceProviding a more rigorous curriculumGiving schools greater autonomyGiving head teachers greater powers to hire and fire More: UK schools out of top 20 in all subjects Education Secretary Michael Gove said the UK's poor performance on the international school tables underlines the urgent need for the reforms the government is making. Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, he said: "The PISA report is a big wake-up call. Wales

Finnishing School Correction Appended: May 16, 2011 Spring may be just around the corner in this poor part of Helsinki known as the Deep East, but the ground is still mostly snow-covered and the air has a dry, cold bite. In a clearing outside the Kallahti Comprehensive School, a handful of 9-year-olds are sitting back to back, arranging sticks, pinecones, stones and berries into shapes on the frozen ground. The arrangers will then have to describe these shapes using geometric terms so the kids who can't see them can say what they are. "It's a different way of conceptualizing math when you do it this way instead of using pen and paper, and it goes straight to the brain," says Veli-Matti Harjula, who teaches the same group of children straight through from third to sixth grade. The Finns are as surprised as much as anyone else that they have recently emerged as the new rock stars of global education. There's less homework too. There are rules, of course.

Pisa 2012 results: which country does best at reading, maths and science? | News The latest Programme for International Assessment (Pisa) results are out today. The release by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that the UK has seen slight improvements in maths and reading performance but has slipped down four places in the overall ranking for science. The UK is ranked 23rd for reading, 26th for maths and 20th for science. In 2009 it was placed 25th, 28th and 16th respectively. Shanghai tops the overall ranking with Singapore and Hong Kong being placed second and third place respectively. Since 2000, the OECD has attempted to evaluate the knowledge and skills of 15-year olds across the world through its Pisa test. The triennial results provide a wealth of data - from which countries are making the biggest improvements in education ranking to how the gender gap varies by subject. Who's top of the class? Qatar, Kazakhstan and Malaysia recorded an average improvement in maths performance of more than eight points per year.

Education | Is five too soon to start school? Do children start school at too young an age in England? Is childhood freedom being curtailed too soon? Compared to most other western European countries, English pupils are extremely early starters in the classroom. While compulsory education begins in England at the age of five (with many children actually starting at four), in countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland, school doesn't begin until the age of seven. English children are ploughing through a fixed curriculum while their continental counterparts are still ploughing up the kindergarten sandpit or playing at home. But which system delivers the best results? The young ones This far-reaching question has been raised by the Cambridge-based Primary Review which is scrutinising how primary education is organised. "The assumption that an early starting age is beneficial for children's later attainment is not well supported in the research and therefore remains open to question," says the report. Long hours culture Less is more?