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In recent weeks we have seen two important announcements on childcare and early years learning: the final report of the Nutbrown Review of early learning and childcare qualifications and the establishment of a childcare commission. These are both welcome developments.

'Narrowing the gap' has been a central focus of investment in early years, aimed at decreasing the divide in life chances between those children who are the haves and have-nots.

Raising the qualifications bar risks locking out some school leavers and young people, warns CACHE chief executive Richard Dorrance, in his response to the Nutbrown review.

Put young children first when responding to the final report from Nutbrown, says Chelle Davison, senior lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, chair of SEFDEY North East Region, and member of the expert panel for the Nutbrown Review

A children's author serving on an official commission on childcare noticed that many subcommittees were busily making recommendations around a central problem: 'It was generally agreed that the country was full of the wrong sort of people. There were strong opinions about what constituted a desirable citizenry and what should be done to children to procure one for the future.'

David Cameron's recent turn to domestic policy with his 'Can Parent' classes is to be welcomed. Repositioning parenting classes as support for all, rather than a penalty for 'poor parents' is a good first step to encourage uptake. The next will be to ensure the service reaches the vulnerable, as well as the proactive.

The return of the first-ever children's minister Margaret Hodge to the early years fray could be good news for the sector.

At the same time that the principles of excellent early years practice have been reaffirmed in the revised EYFS, the Government is proposing to remove part of the sector from these requirements in a way that will not protect the entitlement of young children to the best provision that can be offered to them.

Ever heard of Laura Trott? Probably not. She isn't a household name. But she has a very important job - she's David Cameron's new special adviser on women.

We're here to help as the run-up to the new Early Years Foundation Stage in September 2012 begins.

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