Education: Manifesto nursery pledge may be hard to fulfil

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The Independent Online
Some parts of the country may fail to hit government targets of providing a nursery place for all four-year-olds by September 1998, ministers have admitted.

In draft guidance to local authorities on how the manifesto pledge will be carried out, officals acknowledge that for some the target will pose "a significant challenge". Even in those areas, the Government will be looking for "considerable progress", the guidelines say.

As The Independent disclosed yesterday, the guidance also proposes backing up the Government's manifesto pledge of a nursery place for every child with legislation to compel LEAs to ensure education is provided for all four and, eventually, three-year-olds.

The proposals follow Labour's abolition of the nursery voucher scheme introduced by the Conservative government.