Pre-school children ‘must master vital skills,’ says Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw


Parents should be told to ensure their child has mastered vital skills such as going to the toilet, recognising their own name and understanding the words “no” and “stop” before the first day of school, according to the head of Ofsted.

Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested that families should be issued with a “checklist” of minimum requirements before youngsters start school at age five.

Launching Ofsted’s first annual report on early years education, Sir Michael also said families, especially those from the poorest neighbourhoods, are being let down by a “confusing” system which is leaving the most disadvantaged youngsters without a decent start in life.

As reported by The Independent this week, he called for more youngsters to start school at age two, suggesting that schools are best placed to help break “the cycle of disadvantage” and ensure that poorer children are not falling behind their classmates.

He also criticised those who say pre-school children should be allowed to play and not be taught, arguing that this is “a middle-class prejudice” that is failing poorer youngsters.