This funding is intended to help more nurseries keep the best staff and give more children access to the high-quality early education they need to help them get on in life.
The Government is also calling on Local Authorities to raise awareness so that as many families as possible take up the offer. They say that future funding will be based on the number of participating children. Less money will go to the Local Authorities that have not ensured that parents are taking up these places. They will be funded on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.
In total, Local Authorities across the UK will receive more than half a billion pounds to fund places for 130,000 disadvantaged two-year olds in 2013.
Funding will further increase to around £760 million so that from September 2014, around 260,000 two-year-olds will benefit.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
From 2013, 130,000 of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds will be eligible for 15-hours of free childcare a week with double that number set to benefit the following year.
Today we’re letting Local Authorities know the money they will receive to offer these free places and make a huge difference to hard-pressed families.
Good quality childcare gives children a headstart even before they walk through the school gates for the first time. No child should miss out on this just because of the circumstances of their birth.
Elizabeth Truss, Education and Childcare Minister, said:
“I am calling on schools, nurseries and childminders to step up to the challenge so that all two-year-olds from low-income families are in good or outstanding settings.
We know that only high-quality early education has a long-term impact on school readiness. Therefore, I am urging local authorities to pass on all the funding for places to the front line, so that providers are able to retain and recruit the top quality staff that our youngsters deserve.”
Kathy Sylva, Professor of Educational Psychology at Oxford University, said:
A recent study by the University of Oxford and NatCen Social Research shows that two year olds who attended high quality childcare made more progress than children from similar backgrounds who remained at home or attended lower quality provision. The quality of childcare can make a big difference to the development of young children, especially the most vulnerable.
Eastleigh’s MP, Chris Huhne, reporting the announcement on his website, said;
“It is unfair that today, you can still predict how well they will do in school based on where someone is born. Education is the best way we can help children overcome disadvantaged backgrounds.”
“It is clear from the evidence that children from poorer backgrounds often fall behind their wealthier classmates before they even set foot in school. That gap only gets bigger over time.”
“Liberal Democrats believe in a fair society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. That’s why in government, we have prioritised supporting two-year olds so they can the best start in life.”
“Today’s news on how much money our area will get to make this ambition a reality is a welcome boost for hard-pressed families and will help to create a fairer society.”
The Government has also announced capital funding allocations to councils totalling £100 million, to help build, extend or improve nurseries and early education facilities.
Hampshires share amounts to £8,666,104 to fund early years education for the two-years olds from lower-income households and £1,651,964 for capital projects.
The Government estimate that there will be 2153 eligible children, in Hampshire, in January 2013.