Hats off to Elizabeth Truss for her riposte to the collection of early years specialists, academics and pundits who have tried yet again to persuade us that the root cause of educational failure is too early a start to school.
As Ms Truss points out, the seeds of educational failure for poor children are sown early, and the later education starts, the more they will lose out. One of the ironies of the letter is that so many signatories are connected with the Montessori movement, whose key idea is to create a highly-structured environment that builds an educational outcome into whatever a child chooses to do.
Play it may be, but it is play on adult terms, and could not be further removed from the neglect that seals the fate of too many children before they have started school. Montessori, moreover, was an early and effective advocate of phonics as a means of teaching reading, and English Montessori schools were active in the phonics revival of the early nineties. Maria Montessori would probably have had more in common with the government than with its critics.