Pre-school teachers are in the firing line after research has shown that no less than a quarter of a million children are leaving nursery school each year with a substandard level of education. The report slams pre-school educators, claiming that most four year olds fail to learn the periodic table by heart, whilst many struggle with trigonometry. Poor literacy standards are highlighted by the failure of children to compose Shakespearean sonnets: examples showing untidy prose with muddled tenses and basic spelling mistakes.
A nursery in Milton Keynes is one of many institutions singled out for criticism. ‘Children were asked to read The Iliad,’ the report states, ‘but failed to show even the most basic understanding of Homeric Greek.’ However the report does end on a positive note, pointing out that most European toddlers have an even poorer grasp of English than British pre-schoolers, although the gap narrows in later years.