Entirely just a scare story, something invented in the corners of our own heads. To see this complaining about children’s pre-school literacy and verbosity as a conspiracy, no doubt about it at all. And yet, and yet. If you were to be one of those who insist that the State should be bringing up all children so that they can be taught RightThink then isn’t this part of what you would do? Even, if you were simply a supporter of Sure Start and the like wouldn’t you want to find a reason why it all works, despite all the evidence to the contrary so far?
No, obviously, we’re paranoid:
Children being sent to school unable to speak in sentences is a “persistent scandal”, the Education Secretary is to tell parents.
In his first major speech on social mobility, Damian Hinds will promise to tackle the “last taboo” in education by highlighting the fact that many mothers and fathers are failing to teach their children how to talk.
Speaking at the Resolution Foundation in Westminster on Tuesday, he will say that he has no desire to “lecture” parents about how to raise their children.
But he will warn that children who start school at age four behind their peers rarely catch up and instead “the gap just widens”.
“It is a persistent scandal that we have children starting school not able to communicate in full sentences, not able to read simple words,” he will say.
Our evidence so far is that Sure Start centres don’t actually make any notable difference to anything very much. Yet there is still that burning desire to make sure that children are brought up without the sort of BadThink engendered by the individualism of actual families. Therefore we’ve got to come up with some reason why Sure Start and the like are important additions to the State’s control of the next generation. How is it possible to inculcate the correct love of central control without getting them young?
We might note that the Jesuits only demanded them from 7 onwards. But, you know, state inefficiency:
“And the truth is that the vast majority of these children’s time is at home. Yes, the home learning environment can be, understandably, the last taboo in education policy – but we can’t afford to ignore it when it comes to social mobility. “
Ah, there it is, our reason. Social Mobility! The children of the poor, their path in life is determined before we enlightened manage to get our hands upon them:
A separate study shows that children with poor vocabulary at age five are more than twice as likely to be unemployed at age 34 as children with good vocabulary.
Mr Hinds will say that he wants to halve the number of children starting school without the early speaking or reading skills they need by 2028.
The answer is that the State should have them earlier. Sure Start is saved! Huzzah!
Yes, yes, of course this is paranoia. The British left could never be that organised, could they? And yet, and yet, there does seem to be an awful lot of thrashing around in search of a justification for The Elect to be bringing up all the children in the country from the very earliest age that it’s possible to influence their beliefs.
Who knows, perhaps the nursery songs to teach them interesting words will feature Pavel Morozov? Pavlika, Pavlika, ya ya could go along nicely to that Kate Bush tune, no?