Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has pledged to end child illiteracy by 2025 if his party is re-elected in 2015.
Mr Clegg defended the record of the Liberal Democrats in the coalition government and claimed their achievements would be put at risk by Conservative plans to cut the education budget by £13 billion.
Casting doubt on Labour's plans for education, the Liberal Democrat leader said his was the only political party "committed to protecting the education budget from cradle to college in the next five years".
They plan to meet this commitment by boosting the early years Pupil Premium to a higher level than the primary school Pupil Premium.
In addition, the Liberal Democrats would overhaul early years teaching qualifications by letting nursery staff work towards Qualified Teacher Status. By 2020, they would bring in a requirement for a qualified teacher graduate to be present in every school or nursery delivering the early years curriculum.
"The plans mean that every child born in 2014, who will leave primary school in 2025 will be able to read and write at a standard identified to lead to success in secondary school and beyond," he said.
Mr Clegg added that it was "nothing short of a national scandal" that a fifth of youngsters are leaving primary school without reaching a level of literacy that will enable them to succeed in life.
He pointed out that, as part of the coalition, the Liberal Democrats have protected the schools budget, introduced the Pupil Premium, expanded free childcare and ensured every infant gets a free, healthy meal every day to assist their learning.
Mr Clegg stated that it is necessary to invest in education in order to build a fairer society and ensure every child is able to succeed regardless of their background.
Posted by Tim Colman