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The Education Forum

National Curriculum 0-5

John Simkin

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On Tuesday the government is planning to extend the principle of standardised education from the school classroom to the very youngest infants in England and Wales. The new framework for nought to five-year-olds will have the same legal force as the school national curriculum and will introduce a simplified inspection system to assess care and education for babies and toddlers in all nurseries, playgroups and for those looked after by childminders.

The new scheme could draw accusations of over-prescription in play and learning similar to those levelled at the national curriculum. Critics say that leaves too little time for creativity and reduces the ability of teachers to be flexible.

Margaret Morrissey, spokeswoman for the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, last night condemned the new plan, warning: "We are in danger of taking away children's childhood when they leave the maternity ward.

"From the minute you are born and your parents go back to work, as the government has encouraged them to do, you are going to be ruled by the Department for Education. It is absolute madness."

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