Newcastle City Council will increase the number of free early education places it provides to the city’s most disadvantaged two-year-olds, after successfully bidding for £305,000 of Government funding, to take part in a national trial.
As many as 122 two-year-olds who meet the criteria will be given free early education places at a playgroup or nursery, or with a childminder, in 2012-2013, on top of the 297 places the city council already planned to provide. These new places will be available to children living in the areas surrounding the Sure Start East and Fossway Children’s Centre and the Sure Start Westgate Children’s Centre.
At present, all three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education per week, while the new scheme will offer 15 hours of free early education to around 40% of two-year-olds by 2013-14. The idea is to improve the life chances for two-year-olds who would benefit from early access to high quality early years and childcare provision. It will also focus on the whole family, helping them to improve their opportunities through family support or home learning.
Newcastle is one of ten local authorities across the country to be taking part in a capacity-building exercise before the statutory introduction of free entitlement in 2013.
Joanne Kingsland, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: “This new cash injection from the Government will help Newcastle to build on the considerable amount of good work we have already put in, to make sure that children in the most disadvantaged areas get the best start possible in life. In many ways we are already ahead of the game, having put plans in place to dramatically increase the number of free spaces for two year olds, in line with our priorities for creating a fairer and more equal city. The expansion of early years education is good news for children, families and indeed communities, provided there is sufficient funding in future.”
The two-year-old offer is part of the services provided through the network of Sure Start Children’s Centres in the city in partnership with providers of early education and childcare.
For more information about your local Sure Start Children’s Centre contact Families Information Service on 0191 277 4133
Page last updated: 30 May, 2012