Letter: Nurseries cut crime

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The Independent Online
Sir: That nursery education helps to divert children from crime has been well proved in the United States, giving society a sevenfold return on its investment. Thirty years' experience has shown that intensive nursery-age work with children at risk raises their self-reliance and achievement in later life. They show half the number of arrests, have fewer teenage pregnancies and by the age of 27 have a firmer commitment to family life. Similar projects, using these pioneering High/Scope methods are being assisted by the Home Office in Lewisham and other areas of the UK.

So the Labour Party should seize on the policy proposal to spend about pounds 900m a year to give nursery education to all who want it and need it ('Labour supports nursery schools', 28 June).

This Association, among others, acclaimed John Major's announcement, just before Christmas, of his ambition 'over time to move to universal nursery education'. He dampened hopes later in the Commons (17 March) when he said: 'We have made it clear as and when resources are available we shall move towards further nursery education, towards universal nursery education.'

Everyone will win, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer and many potential victims of crime, when full nursery provision is in place.

Yours sincerely,

MARY HONEYBALL

General Secretary

Association of Chief Officers of Probation

London, E1

28 June

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