THIS morning on the radio I heard a professor talking about the risks of transmission between young children, to older people and the need for effective track and trace.

He wasn’t a professor of education so his view on education were not of similar weight.

His view that four to six-year olds would benefit by going back to school in current circumstance showed a lack of understanding of early years education.

I was chair of governors at a primary school with responsibility for the reception classes and have significant experience of watching the process of educating four and five-year olds.

The evidence-based recommendation for such classes is, that children learn 75 per cent of the time through play and 25 per cent through directed teaching sitting at their tables.

Learning to read is done by class instruction supplemented by teachers and volunteers sitting beside individual children and hearing them practice.

Teachers carefully control the learning through play in what can only be described as organised chaos.

I was disturbed by the news of how the separation and safety measures are being implemented across Reception classes.

Classes will be, typically, of eight children setting at individual desks with 2m separation and no ability to mix, learn through play or one-to-one reading practice.

The change from what the children experienced before and the new system is likely to have a puzzling, if not a traumatic, impact.

Some politicians are making claims that the desire to return Reception and Year 1 children to school is all about education.

However, countries, such as Finland, with highly-rated education systems, don’t start formal education until they are seven.

Major UK public schools, and European countries with similar infection and death rates to us, have no plans to re-open schools before September.

Alan Short

Oaks Drive, Colchester