A more important priority for education

Theresa May, in her announcement about a dramatic change in education policy, still hasn’t got to the nub of it. This is that, for 30 or 40 years now, neuroscientists have been revealing to us that by far the most important changes that take place in the brain — and its consequent ability to absorb knowledge — occur in the earliest weeks, months and years of a child’s life.

That’s where additional educational resources should now be spent — parenting classes for young mothers, superb child care and nursery schools for all children, and junior schools as good as any of the best private prep schools. Let potential abilities be discovered early in a child’s life and let them develop at individual children’s own speed.

All this is what should be developed soonest. Further refinements about selection, exams, types of secondary schools and so on can be postponed for a few years. In fact, many arguments on these quasi-theological niceties will disappear in due course when the full strength of genetic ability and better adult guidance starts coming through in larger numbers of highly talented students entering universities..

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