The Importance of Early Education

ImageIn Camden the Labour council’s decision to reinstate free full time education for nursery school children is very good news for families in the borough.

Camden primary schools justly enjoy an excellent reputation. In an area of high deprivation, schools are proud of the outcomes they deliver for the children of the borough. This has been is in no small part due to the provision in the past of full-time education for 3 and 4 year olds. 

There is good evidence that children benefit from pre-school provision and that children from the poorest families gain the most from early exposure to education. A report from The Institute of Education concludes that universal pre-school education raises standards and leads to greater equality in how well children perform at school. Full-time quality nursery provision decreases learning inequalities later in a child’s education.

Camden Council has correctly concluded that universal full-time places in schools boosts the quality of early years provision and also has a useful effect on children as they enter reception class and beyond.

The expenditure on full-time nursery education in Camden’s schools represents excellent value for money and will benefit the wider community in the borough.

The new scheme will have a positive effect too on low income working families for whom paying for childcare is uneconomic.

Camden is to be applauded for investing in the borough’s nursery children in the face of cost-cutting pressures. As damaging welfare changes loom it is also a good example of how Labour councils must act decisively to mitigate Tory cuts. 

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Children Still Arrested in Huge Numbers

ImageThe Howard League for Penal Reform has published research on the number of children arrested in the UK:

New research by the charity shows police made more than 209,000 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under during 2011. This number includes 2,117 arrests of children who were aged 10 or 11, meaning that on average six primary school children were arrested every day.

In total, more than one million child arrests have been made in England and Wales since 2008.

It’s good news that the number seems to be coming down, but it’s still a massive failure of the system that so many children are arrested each year.

Austerity Justice – LAG at 40

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Legal Action Group’s new book on legal aid, Austerity Justice, coincides with their 40th anniversary.

The book traces the development of publicly funded legal advice services, including Citizens Advice and other not for profit services, as well as the growth and decline in legal aid firms over the past 60 years.

Happy birthday to LAG.