PERHAPS children do start school too early ("Children's learning suffers if they start school too soon", 25 January). It appears that Hungary, Switzerland and Belgium achieve better standards of literacy because up to the age of six children are taught "to listen, pay attention and use their memory" rather than master the three Rs. But what hope have young children of learning to listen in the often appalling acoustic conditions of our nursery and primary classrooms?

It doesn't matter how good the teacher or how appropriate the curriculum or even how bright the children are if the quality of sound they are expected to listen to is poor. This can be due to reverberation, background noise and variations in the distance between teacher and child.

John Chadderton

Educational Audiologist

Birmingham

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