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Nursery school leaders are urging an incoming government to create food standards for early years education.

The call comes after a report by food provider Nursery Kitchen found 70% are unaware that there are no nutritional and quality regulations in place for early years settings.

Nursery Kitchen has stressed the importance of early nutrition as a foundation upon which primary and secondary schools are reliant.

It also highlighted how increasing access to free childcare means more and more parents rely on early years settings to provide nutritious meals.

The provider is campaigning on behalf of 150 early years institutions across the UK to engage the new government on regulation.

A joint letter sent to 19 political representatives last week urged electoral candidates to revise the early years foundation stage statutory focus.

“We’re disappointed that political parties haven’t included a focus on improving food standards in early years settings within their 2024 manifestos,” said Nursery Kitchen MD Jonny Player.

“The Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservative parties have included encouraging pledges dedicated to improving child welfare. But none of them have put any focus on early years nutrition, which is a huge oversight.

“The health of our children must become an important discussion in parliament. Early years settings are becoming increasingly responsible for feeding young children and ensuring Britain’s next generation lead healthy and happy lives.”

Sarah Steel, chair of the Old Station Nursery, added: “We are proud to get behind this campaign which we know will only improve our children’s long-term health, providing we all work together to face these challenges head on.

“Our children deserve to have the very best start in life and that must begin with good nutrition – a basic but fundamental part of early development. We are coming together as an industry with a view that we can achieve real change for the better.”