Teaching schools to be expanded

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The education and childcare minister Elizabeth Truss has announced that 20 more teaching schools will link up with early years providers.

Ms Truss said a teacher-led self-improving system for the early years would enhance outcomes for disadvantaged children. She wants schools to work with nurseries to help them improve the quality of childcare they provide in a bid to narrow the attainment gap between poorer children and their wealthier peers.

She said: "We want to see teachers and nurseries in the driving seat of improvement. As we see in schools, we want strong providers working with weaker providers in a school-led system.

"We’ve already got a network of teaching schools, but we want them to play a much larger role in the early years and we insist that they reach out to all providers."

She added that there were now more than 100 teaching schools with nurseries and over 1,000 more schools with nurseries formally linked into teaching school alliances, as well as 16 nursery schools that are teaching schools.

"But we want to strengthen those links even further and make them more widely available,’ she said. ‘So I’m delighted to announce that 20 teaching schools are establishing new links with early years providers in their area.

"On a national level the NDNA and 4Children have been sharing the best ways of deploying teachers whether or not the nursery is in a school or run by a private provider."

The minister said that she envisioned schools and providers working together and driving up standards ‘building a self-improving system for children from birth right through to 18 — led by teaching schools and nurseries.’

Ms Truss also stressed that she did want to see more good-quality private and voluntary nurseries expand as well.

She also confirmed that nurseries will now be able to open in office buildings and other premises.

"We’re removing planning restrictions which are one of the biggest headaches facing providers who want to set up from scratch or expand their premises.

"It will be quicker, simpler and cheaper for nurseries to open in buildings not currently used for childcare, so, for example, nurseries will be able to convert an office without planning applications having to be put in. This will mean it will be easier for businesses to offer crèche facilities or nurseries for their staff."

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