Children’s developmental needs should lead policy

Written by: Sally Goddard Blythe
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Comparing children’s neuromotor skills to results from national curriculum assessments reveals that those with less mature motor skills perform less well on these formal measures of attainment.


Key points

  • Research from the Oxford University Press (OUP) found that half of five-year-olds in some schools are behind in their language skills – with experts saying disadvantaged children are disproportionately affected
  • The Minister for Education is launching two projects, one worth £13.5 million aimed at giving disadvantaged parents the confidence to help their children learn new words through activities, such as reading and singing workshops, which they can take home and use with pre-school children
  • The second, reportedly worth £10 million, is a plan for a new baseline assessment for children at the start of reception. This latter ‘tunnel vision’ approach to assessment of cognitive skills in the early years, focusing primarily on symptoms and outcomes fails to address the fundamental issue of children’s readiness for formal education
  • In 2004 and 2005, the results of studies carried out in schools indicated that a significant percentage of children were entering the school system with immature motor skills and that there was a correlation between immature motor skills and lower educational performance using baseline measures of education
  • Subsequent projects in schools have revealed a similar picture comparing children’s neuromotor skills to results from national curriculum assessments and showing that children with less mature motor skills perform less well on national curriculum measures of attainment

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