This week's spending review announcement may have looked like electioneering to the political pundits. But Gordon Brown's promise to give more of the nation's poorest children a better start in life represents real social progress. The Chancellor's fatherly and fiscal instincts are to invest in early-years services known to improve health, educational attainment and employment and to reduce crime.
The Government also recognised that it is in primary schools that spending needs to be boosted most, a reality which Scottish ministers have already acknowledged through the teachers' agreement. The extra money seems to have bought peace in England in the run-up to the election.
Only time will tell if it is actually enough to create 10 per cent of non-teaching time for all primary teachers south of the border by September 2005. But that prospect also improved as the school year ended.