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Since Labour came to power in 1997, early years services have undergone a huge transformation - for example a significant increase in the scale of provision, the creation of an over-arching policy approach (Every Child Matters), the establishment of new departments focused on children and their families at local and national level, new structures designed to promote partnership between different bodies concerned with children's welfare, significant changes in the early years curriculum, new subsidies for childcare and education and new arrangements for regulation. This book would offer an historical account of the development of early years services in the United Kingdom (with consideration of developments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as England). After an Introduction arguing the relevance of an historical perspective, it would offer a fairly brief account of developments from the 16th century to the Second World War, a similarly brief account of developments from the Second World War up until the Conservative victory of 1979, a more detailed account of developments in the period of Conservative Government (1979-1997) and three chapters with an even more detailed account of developments since 1997. It is easy for those involved to become so focused on the implementation of the latest changes that they lose sight of the process of change itself. This book would be intended to help them to understand what has happened so far, to evaluate that process and to prepare for the future. The objective would be to assist the reader to understand what has happened, and why, rather than argue that what we have now is, or is not, better than what went before or than any other set of arrangements that might be conceived.