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.