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Let me introduce myself. I'm nasty and aggressive; a bit of an oddball, in fact. I'm cold, clinical, and uncommunicative.

The Olympics and Paralympics brought cheer to millions, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the pageantry of the opening ceremony and much of the sporting drama. But what are our priorities? Would we rather pay for entertainment, or support the life chances of several million children by improving the essential skills of communication and language?

It's been quite a week - beginning with Nick Clegg's announcement of 100 million of capital funding to help providers offer the free places for disadvantaged two-year-olds and ending with the Nursery World Awards event at the Lancaster London!

Quality in childcare matters. High-quality provision imp- roves child development, school readiness and longer-term outcomes for children, from earning potential to life expectancy. Low-quality childcare can minimise the benefits, or even result in long-lasting negative effects, on development.

Back in 2008 when I conducted a series of interviews with nursery workers and teachers I was genuinely shocked to discover just how much their world had changed.

A debate has been running largely unnoticed in the mainstream media about the Government's plans to allow parents to share more of the leave currently allocated to mothers as maternity leave, say Nick Pearce.

Much of the early years sector's attention over the past few months has understandably been focused on the revised Early Years Foundation Stage and new Ofsted inspection framework, now both in place.

A recent international study found that UK pre-school provision is among the best in the world (Starting Well, The Economist Intelligence Unit 2012), says Nancy Stewart

The euphoria occasioned by the golden performances of the Team GB Olympic athletes is starting to subside a little, hastened by news that the Government is making it easier for schools to sell off playing fields.

The 2011 census found there were 3.5 million children under five in England and Wales, which is 406,000 more than the last census in 2001.

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