Government promises to join care and education for pre-school children

    Education secretary Charles Clark has launched a range of
    initiatives aimed at improving the integrations of social care,
    childcare and education for early years’ children,
    writes Lindsay Clark.

    The early year initiative Sure Start will be extended
    so that all parents and families will get one-stop-support at
    Children’s Centres with childcare and education, health and
    employment advice and parenting support on offer together, within
    easy reach of every parent.

    For 3 year olds, and for 4 year olds before they start school,
    12½ hours a week of free integrated education and childcare
    which parents can use flexibly, the minister said. 

    All Centres will also offer early years’ education and
    childcare – mostly on site, but some through networks.
    Children’s Centres will increasingly act as a contact-point
    for networks of childminders and nurseries, so parents can match
    themselves up with a childminder who is nearby and suits
    them.

    Among a range of policies addressed at mainstream education, Clark
    also announced a new, integrated Youth Offer, with Green Paper on
    Youth this autumn to pull together all the various support on offer
    to young people, with better support for young people leaving
    care.

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