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Turn nursery mirage into reality

Tony Travers predicts (TES, January 20) that the schools system will cope with the financial constraints of 1995-96, even though primary and secondary pupil-teacher ratios are bound to rise, and (as your survey on teachers' pay concluded) teachers may have to pay for their own pay rise by the loss of teachers' jobs. Maybe.

But with individual schools and local education authorities caught in the Government's financial squeeze, how is the much-needed and universally supported nursery expansion to be funded?

As with adult, youth and community education, until it is statutory, nursery education is in danger of being regarded as of lesser importance.

If we are serious about wanting a rise in educational standards, fully comprehensive nursery provision is needed across the country, along with a properly-thought-out parenting skills programme, as part of the community education agenda.

Until the foundations for learning are in place for children under three and aged three to six higher educational standards across the board will remain a mirage. When will the recommendations of the National Commission on Education and the RSA Start Right report be acted on?

Society as a whole, not just education, is having to pay a heavy price for our neglect of good-quality early learning. The political will to invest in our children's future has to be a priority.

Tony Elder 15 The Courtyard East Grinstead West Sussex

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