Last week, Ofsted's chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said that nurseries are failing to ensure children are ready to learn when they get to primary school. Apparently children are arriving for their first day at school unable to hold a pen, unable to recognise numbers or to use the toilet independently. In the poorest communities, as many as eight in ten children fall into this "unprepared" category.
I was a "people's panel" guest on BBC Wiltshire last week discussing this. You can listen here (the discussion is at about 01:27)
I went to a Montessori nursery school, where I learned basic letters and numbers before starting school. When I got to school though, I was in a minority - a lot of children had never attended any sort of institution before that point, and were all taught the alphabet at the age of 5.