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Asquith Court announced last week that it has acquired a large number of the creches and nurseries owned by David Lloyd Leisure. The nursery group, the UK's second largest chain, has bought 41 of the nurseries and creches based at the health and fitness clubs' sites.

The steps leading to the identification of a child's special needs and the devising of an individual education plan are outlined by the Camden Early Years Intervention Team For those children who enter our early years settings with an identified special educational need or whose progress raises concerns, the Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a crucial instrument in the cycle of assessing, planning, teaching and reviewing, to use in meeting needs and raising their achievement.

The work of early years centres supporting children with speech and language difficulties is described by Gareth Parker of I CAN One in ten children in the UK suffer from a speech and language difficulty - that's more than a million children struggling every day. One Brighton mother, Anita Hall, has three boys, all of whom are affected by this 'hidden' disability.

At first sight Nursery World's pay survey for the early years workforce looks like good news. Pay has risen by a third in five years, hooray! Then you look closer at the statistics and see the main reasons are because the minimum wage has been introduced, and staff in Sure Start projects and children's centres are getting a lot more than colleagues in private sector nurseries, thanks to being subsidised by the taxpayer. Linda Clarke, Birmingham 28 October

Fern Anderson of Gateshead won first prize in Sure Start Leam Lane's Christmas card competition, representing Wardley Primary School . Lingley House Nursery took second place and Roman Road Primary School came third. Prizes were presented by Linda Green, Gateshead Council cabinet member for Children and Young People, at a carol service for local schools and nurseries organised by the centre. Photo George Bosnyack; image courtesy of Gateshead Council

This is the final edition of Nursery World for 2004 - our next issue is out on January 6. We can look back on a year packed with change in the early years sector, including the publication of the five-year strategy for education and the ten-year strategy...

Two primary schools have banned parents from taking photographs and videos of children taking part in nativity plays following training sessions run by their local authority on child protection issues. Staff from LEA nursery schools and nursery classes in primary schools in Rochdale, Lancashire, were invited to recent training sessions on a wide range of child protection issues.

* Maytree Nursery School in Lambeth, London, has won a Special National Training Award. The awards, run on behalf of the DfES, honour outstanding achievement through training and development. Maytree won for training staff to deal with autism, after four...

An extra half a million pounds will be invested in PE and sports in schools across England, the Government announced last week. The 519m worth of funding will be used to build sports facilities and complete the network of 400 specialist sports colleges and school sport partnerships, as well as bringing new coaching expertise into schools. It is expected to increase children's access to PE and sports from two to four hours a week by 2010.

Three members of staff at a Just Learning nursery in Cambridgeshire have been charged with child cruelty offences following an incident involving a 15-month-old child. The manager, deputy manager and a nursery nurse at Just Learning in Cambourne were investigated for neglect and assault after a child was injured during an incident on 2 September. Just Learning has suspended all three.

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