The Coalition Government will inject £100m capital funding to support the delivery of new nursery and childminder places.
Two in five of the country’s two-year-olds will be eligible for 15 hours of free early years education per week by September 2014. This will help ensure that children are better prepared for school and will help parents on lower incomes with the costs of childcare.
An estimated 100,000 new places are required across the country. The capital funding will be made available to local authorities to help attract new entrants to the early education and childcare sector, particularly in areas where the childcare market is less developed. Funding could also be used to enable existing nurseries and childminders to expand to offer more places to two-year-olds.
Free early years education is key to the Deputy Prime Minister’s ambition to break the link between the circumstances of a child’s birth and their life chances.
Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said:
“So much of a child’s future is determined before they hang up their coats on their first day at school. It is vital that we do all we can to make sure a child’s potential isn’t determined by the circumstances of their birth.
“That is why we will give thousands of two year olds access to free early years education over the coming years.
“Good quality early education gives children a head start before they even start school and helps the most hard-pressed families who are struggling with the cost of child care.
“The money we are announcing today will help nurseries and child minders get ready to deliver this revolution in early education.”