Nursery care is best preparation for school, says study

Children cared for in nurseries and creches are better prepared for school than those looked after by grandparents, says study. Plus other news.

Babies who go to nursery are more ready for school than those looked after by grandparents, according to new research.
The study by the Institute of Education looked at 4,800 children born in 2000 and 2001. It suggested that while children looked after by grandparents from nine months on had larger vocabularies than other children, those who had been in nurseries were more sociable, had a better understanding of colours, letters, numbers and counting, sizes, comparisons and shapes and were hence better equipped to cope when they started school.

Those who fared the best from having had formal care were children from two-parent families, girls, those with better educated mothers and those from deprived backgrounds. The researchers suggest that nurseries and creches could reduce early social inequalities between children

Baby brain is a myth, says researcher

Forget baby brain. Having children actually sharpens the mind, according to new research.
The 10-year research by scientists at the Australian National University in Canberra says baby brain is a myth and women’s cognitive abilities improve with pregnancy. Moreover those improvements may be lasting.
The research studied 2,500 women aged 20-24 in 1999, 2004 and 2008. It found pregnant women performed the same on logic and memory tests as when they were not pregnant. Chief researcher Helen Christiansen speculates that women may attribute any memory problems to their pregnancy as it is uppermost in their mind or that sleep deprivation may mask the positive effects of pregnancy.
Previous research at the National University of Singapore show evidence of new brain circuits from foetal cells migrating to the brains of pregnant mice, suggesting a woman’s brain may be sharper as a result of pregnancy.
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Government clampdown on finance sector pay gap

The Government is to clamp down on unfair pay and discrimination against women who work in financial services.
Research shows men in this sector earn on average 40% per hour more than women, although women make up almost 50% of the workforce. This is a higher gender pay gap than in any other industry in the UK.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is carrying out an inquiry into these issues and will report later this year.

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Rights campaign launched for agency workers

The Government has launched a £1m campaign to let employment agencies know about how the law affects their employees.
It follows complaints by unions that agencies were ignoring employees’ rights. The Government will write to agency directors and the campaign will include posters, the internet and local press to tell agency workers what their rights are.
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