I have said in earlier posts on language develoment that the government would do better to supply every young family with a dining table than to keep on meddling with the school curriculum. Today's Daily Telegraph features an article by Phil Beadle which contains similar views. He too stresses the importance of family mealtimes as opportunities for building vocabulary, developing communication skills and encouraging children to solve problems. It is an excellent article, putting responsibility for early language development back where it belongs - in the home. It offers lots of ideas for language-building games for families to play.
So, if you are listening, Mr Balls, no more pressure on parents to put their under-four year olds into child care, give a grant for tables to all young parents who cannot afford to buy one and might I suggest that antenatal classes should include tips on how to help babies to develop good language skills.