Revolt looms over new curriculum for toddlers

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The Government has put itself on a collision course with parents, early years experts, private schools and childminders over its plans for a new national curriculum for the under-fives. They claim it violates parents' human rights by denying them the freedom to choose how they educate their children.

The framework, which becomes law in September, will affect all 25,000 nurseries and childcare settings in England, whether they are run by the state, voluntary groups or private companies. It requires under-fives to be assessed on 69 writing, problem solving and numeracy skills.

The Independent Schools Council, which represents 1,280 fee-paying schools educating more than 500,000 children, has written to Beverley Hughes, the Children's minister, calling for the curriculum to be scrapped.