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Unregistered providers will be allowed to deliver government-funded childcare in an attempt to address a shortage of places, under proposals set out in Ukip's general election manifesto.

The next government should place a statutory responsibility on schools to provide careers education to boost the quality of advice on offer, a professional body representing staff in the sector has said.

Government plans to change the way local authority child protection work is funded risk leading to a major drop in resources in the most deprived areas, it has been claimed.

The starting age for formal education will be raised if the Green Party forms the next government, with all children receiving free childcare before they start school.

Primary school children will no longer receive free school meals if the Conservatives retain power, with children getting free breakfasts instead, the party's manifesto has said.

Two research organisations have joined forces in an effort to strengthen the evidence base for early years services, offering funding to nursery providers willing to have their work evaluated.

Childcare funding and payment should be collated into an online "childcare passport" to simplify the system for providers and parents, the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has said.

The number of children affected by domestic violence has increased significantly, a child protection charity has said.

Campaigners calling for mandatory reporting to be introduced in order to protect children from abuse have welcomed a pledge from the Labour Party to strengthen the duty to report if it wins next month's general election.

Almost all children's doctors in the UK believe children's health is being affected by food insecurity and housing problems, a survey has found.