Look over the sea, minister

4th June 2004 at 01:00
Last week and this in The TES Scotland we have lessons from Scandinavia. If you want to see how to construct schools, go to Norway. If you want to see a universal childcare and education system in harmony, go to Sweden. These are important illustrations of how far we have to go to measure up to best practice, the term by which teachers and schools are often judged.

Since it came to power in 1997, Labour deserves credit for its trademark policies. In delivering part-time nursery education for all three and four-year-olds - once an unattainable dream - ministers have plugged one gap. But other arrangements for childcare outside of these hours have been largely left to families and they pay a heavy price. That has left the "fragmented muddle" (page five) we currently have.

Last week, we also reported that eminent researchers are finding hard evidence to support the contention that high quality pre-school education reduces inequalities, which lasts into primary school. An effective policy could be even more effective if we follow others.

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