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Whenever I visit a Nordic country, I'm mistaken for a native. I probably have some Viking blood in my ancestral line. That might explain why I've always admired the Nordic countries. More likely, they are admirable because they get so much right, not least their world-class early-years education and childcare systems.

It's time to sweep away layers of paperwork along with the autumn leaves, with the EYFS now telling us to limit paperwork.

STAR LETTER - ASSESSMENT WAS GOOD EXPERIENCE

Two is definitely the magic number in the early years sector at the moment, referring of course to two-year-olds - the free places for the 40 per cent most disadvantaged, the Progress Check and all the challenges of funding, provision and practice.

The recent terrible events in Machynlleth force those of us who call for a more balanced approach to risk in childhood to take stock.

It seems a long time since the Nutbrown Review of early years qualifications appeared - 19 June to be precise.

STAR LETTER

Profit can be a bit of a dirty word in the early years sector. However, without profit no business can survive, and a nursery cannot develop to better meet the needs of children and families.

I have been asked by the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) to be an ambassador for its National Schools Meals Week (NSMW). This is the biggest national healthy eating awareness week about school meals in Britain. This year it takes place on 5-9 November and encourages everyone to 'get involved' in preparing healthy school dinners.

The Government and several of the think tanks that sympathise with its policies are making a lot of noise about the cost of childcare and about how it must be made more affordable to parents.

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