So you can understand why Labour has pumped money in, launching a raft of programmes and extending free nursery education to all three-year olds. So far it's cost us £21bn.
The trouble is, it's flopped.
New research from Durham University's Curriculum, Evaluation and Management Centre reveals that children's development and skills as they enter primary school are no different today than they were in 2000. No progress at all.
Naturally the government's response is to shrug it off. Minister for Children Beverley Hughes (the one who was forced to resign from the Home Office over the scandal of visas being issued on false papers) says:
"Early indications are that this investment is improving outcomes for children. However, as the author of this report acknowledges, it is still too early to measure this with any great authority."
So what's gone wrong?
Nobody seems quite sure, but I think we can guess:
- Great Leap Forward- this is yet another top-down plan imposed from above- eg the boilerplate early childhood curriculum
- Social engineering disguised as education
- Unintended consequences- we already know Sure Start has been a disaster, making life worse for the most disadvantaged kids (eg see this blog)
There are no changes in prospect: as always, the Commissars' response to inconvenient evidence is to press on regardless. Just like Stalingrad.