Monday, 14 November 2011

Free early years education for two-year olds in Cornwall

The Government has announced plans to extend free early education to 140,000 disadvantaged two-year-olds, and parents will be able to access the free entitlement more flexibly. In Cornwall, around 900 two-year olds are expected to benefit from the proposals.

Liberal Democrat Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather, announced a consultation today on how this commitment will be implemented. The plans include proposals to help parents and children alike by making the free entitlement of 15 hours per week of early education more flexible, so it can be taken between 7am and 7pm across two days instead of the current three days.

Helping 900 two-year-old children from the poorest backgrounds in Cornwall will benefit them for years to come. High quality early education is the key to making a difference early on in a
child’s life and help make Britain a fairer and more equal society.

Improving social mobility is a Liberal Democrat priority in Government and early years education is crucial to achieve this. Targeting early education at those who stand to benefit most, is an important to achieve this goal. It will be an integral part to disadvantaged children’s healthy development. This means they’re not falling behind before they have even started primary school.

The task for the Conservatives who run Cornwall council is to make this ambition a reality and deliver this extra help for hard press families.

Commenting further, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said:

“I want us to give every child the best possible start – so free education for toddlers from the most disadvantaged homes will now be a right and not a privilege.

“Crucially the extra care will be flexible and easy to access. Parents across the country are bending over backwards to balance work and home. The Coalition wants to help in whatever way we can.”

All local authorities in England have been delivering a targeted offer of between 10 and 15 hours of free early education to some of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds since September 2009. The extension of 15 hours to all disadvantaged two-year-olds will mean an increase in the number of places across the country, from 20,000 per year to around 140,000 per year.

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