Letter: French know better

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Sir: If John Patten is so concerned about 'giving the under-fives a head start in life' ('Parents should read to under-fives daily, Patten says', 6 March), maybe he should take the time to study what goes on in other European countries. France, for instance, has a state-subsidised nursery school system that caters for children aged three until they are six and ready to go to primary schools.

It is one educational point, at least, on which everybody there agrees, regardless of political allegiance: the children arrive well equipped into primary schooling, having benefited from stimulating activities - including reading.

I should know - I experienced it some 30 years ago in my native country, and I wish my two-year-old could enjoy similar provision here.

Yours faithfully,