Nanny State: Nationalising of childhood

17 March 2007

Nationalising of childhood

Evening Standard (London)

The nationalising of childhood. Has the state gone ga-ga?

Your first reaction is to check the date. Surely, you think, it must be a spoof. Surely they cannot be serious.

But no, it's not April Fool's Day, and it's not a spoof. Incredible as it may seem, the Government is proposing — with an entirely straight face — to give babies marks for crying, gurgling or babbling, under a new curriculum for infants aged from birth to five years old, which all nurseries will have to follow.

Playgroups and childminders will have to show that they are helping babies make progress in no fewer than 69 areas of education and development, or else risk losing their funding.

No sooner will an infant exit from its mother's womb, it seems, than the State will start expecting it to hit performance targets. As one might expect from such a barmy idea, these targets are suitably surreal.


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