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Government minister Sarah Teather visits Norwich to talk education and address city Liberal Democrats

PUBLISHED: 21:23 19 January 2012

Children's Minister Sarah Teather with Norwich South M.P Simon Wright before her meeting with Liberal Democrats in Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Children's Minister Sarah Teather with Norwich South M.P Simon Wright before her meeting with Liberal Democrats in Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Children’s minister Sarah Teather insists government plans to fund education for the poorest children will give them a “lifetime of life chances”.

Ms Teather is visting Norwich to address the city’s Liberal Democrats at their annual dinner tonight.

And the coalition minister is outlining her hopes for education in the county during the sold out city centre event.

As reported, government plans to give more disadvantaged two-year-olds free access to education is predicted to lead to a 750pc increase in demand for places in Norfolk.

The county council is assessing how to create enough spaces in the next 20 months.

And Lib Dem Ms Teather said: “There are huge benefits. Unfortunately what we see is if you are from a poor background you start at school behind other children and you will do less well. What people don’t know is that this develops long before school. What we are trying to do is turn that around and give them a leg-up before they start school.”

Ms Teather said pupil premiums then acted as a further “leg-up” for children during their time at school. She said it was a “tragedy” that bright youngsters were not achieving the grades they ought to, which hampered their future university and job prospects.

She said: “We are planning for the long-term and the results we will see for putting extra money for disadvantaged two-year olds will be in 10 years time. We’ve got a short-term problem dealing with the country’s deficit but what we are trying to do is generate a lifetime of life chances.”

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