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Ministers should close the loophole in the nursery voucher scheme

Ministers should close the loophole in the nursery voucher scheme and stop four-year-olds joining reception classes, the Pre-School Learning Alliance said this week in a survey condemning school admission policies .

Margaret Lochrie, the alliance's chief executive, said: "Local authorities and schools, simply to make extra cash, are preparing to admit children to reception classes when they are just four years old " They are able to exploit a loophole in the Government's voucher scheme which allows schools to admit children under compulsory school age without regard to staffing levels which normally apply to nursery classes, nursery schools and the private and voluntary sectors."

In Norfolk three of the alliance's pre-schools have closed as a result of the loophole, and many others are struggling, the survey of the four pilot LEAs says.

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