Another thing I see that the Welsh are considering is nation-wide tutoring for 8 year olds. This is an idea that I have long promoted. In the United States we typically wait until there is failure in the third grade before any help is available. (Better teachers in better schools will object and say this is no longer the case, but even 2-4 years ago I was faced with the same advice: “let’s see if he grows out of it.”) The trouble with this policy is that after two or three years of failure in the first of their schooling, a child adopts the attitude that they are stupid or that school is stupid. Then the help, even if it were good, often is not enough.
I have long said that quick tutoring at the early years would help close gaps that go unnoticed in group situations. This is one place where early intervention makes a lot of sense.
Personal story: One of my grandsons had gone to Kindergarten two or 3 times (depending upon how you count the CDC program) and when he was not doing well in October of his first grade year, the public school put him back in Kindergarten, over his mother’s objections. She appealed to me. I taught him how to read in 3 hours. Obviously, I could not have taught him everything in 3 hours. I just closed the gaps and made a bridge.
Good tutoring could make all the difference in someone’s life — and also save dollars later spent on “special education.”