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Five year strategy for children and learners

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United Kingdom. Department of Education and Skills
Publication Date: 
12 Jul 2004

Available in print to order and online for download.

Excerpts from the executive summary:

Children and all those who learn are our future. That is why this Government has invested in extra nurseries and child care places.

We have opened up opportunity at every stage of life. But we have not yet broken the link between social class and achievement. No society can afford to waste the talent of its children and citizens. So major challenges at each key phase of life remain:

- Under 5s &em; disadvantage starts early in life and children who get a poor start tend to fall further behind as they go through the education system. And despite the improvements we are still not providing enough child care places in a flexible way that meets parents' needs.

For the early years, our offer to children and parents is:

- All parents able to get local one-stop support through Children's Centres that will provide child care, education, health, employment and parenting support

- From birth to two, more opportunities and support for parents to stay at home with their children if they want to, and a wide range of accessible, affordable high quality early learning and child care for parent to choose from, with payment according to means supported tax credits.

- A flexible system of 'educare', that joins up education and child care and provides 12 1/2 hours free support per week for three and 4 year olds before they go to school, with more choice for parents about when they use it

- The development of dawn-to-dusk schools, with breakfast child care and after-school clubs to help parents juggle their busy lives

- Children's Trusts bringing together all those who provide services for children and families in each local area, and making sure children at risk get proper care, education and protection.