Opinion: Editor's view

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Early years providers have had a lot of different issues to consider in the election campaign

At last, the big day has arrived, and as you read this you may already have visited your local polling station to cast your vote in the General Election, or you may planning when - or whether - to go.

Over the course of the election campaign, Nursery World has given a lot of coverage to the main parties and their plans for childcare and early years education, including substantial articles from top figures such as Ed Balls, Nick Clegg and Maria Miller. We hope that this has been of help to our readers in making their decision.

It's certainly not easy, and as we go to press, victory is still completely up for grabs. Labour has undoubtedly done more than any previous Government with its childcare strategy - despite unhappiness over some policies, should it be given the chance to develop the strategy further? The Tories would suspend the free entitlement code of practice and allow top-up fees on at least a temporary basis - welcome words for quite a few nursery managers. The LibDems would scrap the EYFS and provide more training for practitioners - have they convinced you they are worth a shot?

We won't tell you who to vote for, but we do think that everyone should exercise their right to vote - there is too much riding on the next Government not to.

One looming problem for the next administration looks to be the continuing drop in the number of providers, with a fall of 917 childminders in the three months to end-March, and 248 fewer nurseries - a loss of more than 11,000 places in a very short period (see News, page 4). This haemorrhage needs to be staunched.

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