Following the article by Sally Weale (What society gives their youngest less chance than their parents had?, 31 January), we were delighted to have the threat to maintained nursery schools (MNS) highlighted this week. Nursery schools’ greatest assets are their trained and dedicated staff, which includes qualified teachers (QTS), with expert knowledge of child development and learning. Qualified teachers are what really makes the difference between MNS and private childcare. This cannot be stressed enough. Furthermore, the new early years teacher status (which does not have QTS) provides a levelling down to the qualified teaching profession and is doing a disservice to the predominately female workforce in this field.
MNS are under threat. We need public support to survive and we want to assert the right of every child in the country to benefit from nursery school education. Nursery schools do a fantastic job of “narrowing the gap” and effectively help the most disadvantaged under-fives, but we are also firmly based in our local communities and always wish to reflect their full diversity.