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Let's get one thing out of the way first: I'm no expert on childcare. I've been following the debate on ratios with great interest, but my focus here is in one important part of childcare provision: food.

Nursery manager James Boddey puts his case for charging by the hour as the best approach to making childcare affordable for all

Perhaps Liz Truss could persuade the Treasury to adopt a novel form of quantitative easing, argues Ross Midgley - just print more children.

Neil Leitch finds elements of practice to question on a visit to French nurseries

By Annabel Karmel, author of books on nutrition and cooking for babies, children and families.

Like nursing, early years is a profession that demands compassion, says Dr Geoff Taggart

The on-going controversy over Government early years policy hit the national headlines once again last week, when the Daily Mail published an interview with education and childcare minister Elizabeth Truss in which she launched a scathing attack on the childcare sector

Those who lived through the bleak days of the Woodhead/Blunkett Education regime of the late 1990s scarcely imagined that early-years policy-making could be any more Dark-Aged, but in this respect the current Wilshaw/Gove regime is breaking all previous records.

Childcare will be one of the key issues at the next election. With working parents feeling their incomes squeezed, many mums and dads are rightly asking why the Government isn't helping them to be better off back in work.

I signed up to the campaign calling for an immediate end to all advertising aimed at young children not because I want to idealise childhood but because I worry that children's lives being imbued with products and brands has a negative impact on emotional and creative development, says Susie Orbach.