Labour's under-5 plan

25th November 1994 at 00:00
The woman charged with drawing up Labour's blueprint for an expanded pre-school education sector has pledged to put quality before quantity.

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking and former leader of Islington council, told a nursery education conference in London, organised by the Royal Society of Arts, that it was not good enough to expand provision for children under five by putting them in reception classes.

"I do not want to increase quantity at the expense of quality. Having three and four-year-olds in a reception class with one teacher and an assistant is just cheap child care."

She said Britain needed the political will shown by the wartime coalition government to expand education for the under-5s. Between 1940 and 1943 the number of state nurseries grew from 14 to 1,345, she said. "That is more places than are available today," she said.

Mrs Hodge, who heads a task group set up by Labour's education spokesman, David Blunkett, said France spent 10 per cent of its education budget on the early years and Norway invested 11 per cent but Britain spent only 4 per cent.

Labour would consider diverting resources within education to the early years and would look at the cost of the Assisted Places Scheme and grant-maintained schools, she said.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now