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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.

In the run-up to the school holidays, childcare policy was given prominence by the Government and the opposition. Labour's Childcare Commission held its first listening exercise as Government launched a consultation on its own commission. This consensus of concern underscores the importance of childcare and acknowledges that the current settlement isn't working.

With just one month before the EYFS revisions come on stream, it would be fantastic if we were all pulling in the same direction. But instead there is a serious mismatch in some of the messages coming from forces that affect services for our youngest children.

By children's minister Sarah Teather

It's not often I feel moved to say this, but a new resource from the Department for Education is absolutely fascinating!

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.

I sometimes wonder if Denmark ever tires of the constant flow of UK early years professionals and politicians who stream into the country to marvel at its high-quality, universal, affordable childcare.

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