Child care charity the Daycare Trust urged
schools to take advantage of the opportunity to develop “cradle to
college” child care services at its annual conference last
The charity welcomed the government’s plans to
legislate to enable school governors to run child care and other
community services as set out in the education white paper and
consultation on early years education and child care.
Establishing such “extended schools” will
provide a platform to create children’s centres in every
neighbourhood by 2010, claimed the charity, arguing that a national
programme of children’s centres is key to tackling child poverty
and enabling parents to work.
By building on existing early childhood
services in primary schools, neighbourhood nurseries, Sure Start
and early excellence centres, 10,000 centres could be set up during
the next 10 years at additional running costs of £200m per
year, said the charity.
Speaking at the conference, the director of
the children and young people’s unit, Althea Efunshile, said there
should be greater use of schools and early years settings for child
care and community learning, but that child care needed to be
“Child care needs to keep up with the changing
world and context. We have an increasingly diverse population and
child care has to keep up with that fact.”
Paymaster general Dawn Primarolo described the
work as an important route to achieving the government’s aim to
abolish child poverty within a generation.