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Care at the core

It is five years since Tony Blair pledged to eradicate child poverty in a generation. So far, his Government is doing well, having helped some 1.4 million children out of this hardship. But as the Fabian Society pointed out this week, the quarter of British children still living below the poverty line will be harder to reach.

What will make the difference? Schools, for one thing. The Children Bill is all about the inclusion of those who need extra help - from children in care to parents in difficulties. Early education and support through Sure Start - boosted in this week's Budget - is already making a difference. Its impact should soon be felt in schools.

Is there a conflict between the caring agenda and the standards agenda? No, they are one and the same. Only by raising the bar for all children will the Government actually reach its literacy and numeracy targets.

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