State of the nation: So, Tony, on a scale of one to ten, how does your government rate? Education: 6/10

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1. All children aged 5, 6 and 7 are taught in classes of 30 or fewer by 2001.

2. 5,000 schools to be repaired or rebuilt.

3. Proportion of 11-year-olds meeting literacy standards to rise from 63 per cent to 80 per cent by 2002.

4. Proportion of 16-year-olds achieving five or more GCSE A-C grades to rise from 45 per cent to 50 per cent by 2002.

5. Three-year-olds guaranteed a nursery place doubled to 66 per cent by 2002. All four-year-olds to be guaranteed a place.


The Government describes education as its "first priority" and its commitment to spend an extra pounds 19bn over three years appears impressive. Its key manifesto pledge on infant class sizes will be met a year early in September 2000.

Average class sizes for pupils over eight have gone up and the cost of increasing free nursery places has been huge. The pledge for universal provision for three-year-olds disappeared in last year's report and no target has been set for England and Wales.