Regrettably, some councils blessed with adequate places shun other forms of care and education just as they have always disregarded independent school education. But ingrained prejudice has no place, and most councils will have to rely on facilities outwith their own if the Government's target of universal three-year-old provision by 2002 is to be realised.
More and more local partnerships depend on a trained teacher being employed in a private nursery for the pre-school year group. This means proprietors confronting local authority conditions of service, for the market is competitive. Yet private providers commend themselves to parents by offering longer hours and fewer holidays.
Equally, the General Teaching Council has reminded local authorities of their responsibility for probationers working in the independent sector. In some cases the only qualified teacher will be a probationer, who needs support to achieve full registration. Partnerships to implement Government policy are imposing unfamiliar disciplines all round.