Labour to rewrite nurseries curriculum

Early learning: Policy to embrace partnership of public and private sector for under-fives

Labour will offer state money to private nurseries and rewrite the curriculum for the under-fives in plans to be announced next month.

The party is already looking at projects which might form the model for its aims to expand nursery education and day care. One involves a private company, set up by a Labour council, which has taken over all day nurseries in a Tory borough.

In a paper to be launched in the New Year, the party will condemn the Government's nursery plans, despite recent reports that the party might not withdraw the pounds 1,100 vouchers if it came to power after their introduction. It is likely to promise nursery education for all three- and four-year-olds, as well as day care for babies and toddlers.

Though Labour has not costed its plans, experts have estimated that between pounds 1.02bn and pounds 1.04bn per year might be needed to provide part-time nursery education for three-year-olds and full-time schooling for four-year-olds. A fully integrated under-fives service, including day care, would cost around pounds 2.7bn per year.

Margaret Hodge, head of the party's "early years" inquiry and MP for Barking, said Labour had to recognise that things had changed since Margaret Thatcher first promised nursery education for all in 1972. Part-time care would no longer suffice because far more mothers now worked, she said.

"We will have to build on the legacy we inherit, and so we would have to look for partnerships with the private and voluntary sector to create these places for children. We have got to be imaginative if we are to provide access to all," she said.

The party's new policy foresees an integrated under-fives service, often run by partnerships of private, public and voluntary organisations. Local authorities would still be responsible for planning and inspection.

Nurseries might be built by private companies, such as supermarkets, in return for planning permission for developments, and could be run by a local authority or by a voluntary organisation. Mrs Hodge said there should be flexibility so that authorities in different areas of the country could meet local needs in their own ways.

Labour would also scrap plans drawn up by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) for a nursery curriculum which sets down basic targets for levels of numeracy, literacy and general knowledge.

Instead, it is examining a project set up by all major groups representing nursery and childcare organisations to design a new curriculum from birth to the age of eight.

The Early Childhood Education Forum is just finishing a first draft of its plan, Quality and Diversity. Its authors say the SCAA curriculum is too rigid and could even be damaging.

Instead, they propose five "foundations", based on active learning, pupil participation and imagination, as well as on building a sense of individuality and of group membership.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living