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TARGETS SET FOR VOUCHER SCHEME

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Education secretary Gillian Shephard this week introduced new measures to back up the controversial nursery voucher...
Education secretary Gillian Shephard this week introduced new measures to back up the controversial nursery voucher scheme for four-year-olds.

The measures include checks and assessments to ensure providers meet the requirements of the scheme, a framework for inspection, and targets for literacy, numeracy and social skills.

Mrs Shephard claimed the measures would ensure participants in the scheme would receive high-quality education.

The Association of Metropolitan Authorities poured scorn on Mrs Shephard's announcement, describing the government's decision to press ahead with vouchers as pigheadedness.

AMA education chairman Graham Lane criticised the measures for failing to 'create a coherent single inspection framework to bring together Ofsted's role and the requirements of the Children Act'.

'Fears will remain that new operators can be responsible for the care and education of three and four-year-olds for at least a year without any form of external inspection,' said Mr Lane.

On Wednesday the Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Bill was published. Apart from introducing the vouchers, it enables GM schools to borrow commercially.

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