PLANS to give free early education to disadvantaged two-year-olds have been welcomed by the national nursery charity.
The Bradley-based National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has given its support to Government proposals to offer 15 hours of free education to two-year-olds from poorer backgrounds.
All of England’s 800,000 three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free education a week. Currently these have to be spread over three days.
In an effort to help working families, the times during which parents can drop off their children will also be extended by two hours, allowing free nursery places to be taken up over two days rather than three.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has just announced the introduction of 10 pilot areas where the scheme for two-year-olds will be rolled out across the country from September.
The proposals, which are at the consultation stage, state that two-year-olds from families which meet the criteria for free school meals will continue to be eligible.
In addition, the Department for Education (DfE) is planning to offer free early education to two-year-olds if they:
Are in low income families earning no more than £16,190 each year
Have special educational needs or a disability
Have been in care and been adopted.
Although the 10 pilot areas for this scheme start in September 2012 the aim is to roll it out nationwide in September 2013.