Headteacher Lucy Driver and Thangam welcomed Ed Miliband to St Pauls Nursery School and Children's Centre to meet staff, parents and children.
Thangam said, “Children always like to grab any opportunity to have a story and Ed was happy to oblige. He’d obviously done it many, many times before.”
Ed then showed his support for Save the Children’s ‘Read on Get on’ campaign to get all children reading confidently by the age of 11.
Thangam says, “The provision of Children’s Centres is something the last Labour Government can be really proud of. It makes me angry that so many have closed under the Coalition, or kept their names but reduced the help they can give to parents and children. If the Tories win a second term, I fear for future of Children’s Centres. What was so important about them was not just that children were looked after but that they were in a stimulating, exciting environment where they could enjoy themselves and learn at the same time. In the last five years the cost of childcare has risen six times faster than wages and the Tories’ plan was to let child minders look after more children. Several parents in St Pauls told Ed how important the Centre had been to them. It supported them when they needed it as well as giving them a chance to go to college or work, knowing that their children were well cared-for and were getting a good start in life. Ed asked if Labour’s policy of 25 hours free childcare would be a help and the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.”
Ed Miliband launched Labour’s Education Manifesto today (April 9th) and in it were commitments for early years care and education. If Labour wins the election it will protect spending on Early Years and restore Sure Start to its role of supporting parents as well as providing high quality care and education for young children. Labour will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours a week for three and four year olds and this will be paid for by an increase in the bank levy.