Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has pledged free nursery places to disadvantaged two-year-olds. 

By September 2014 it is intended that 260,000 of the UK’s most disadvantaged children will receive up to 15 hours a week of free pre-school education. Changes have also been introduced to allow greater flexibility, increasing nursery hours from 08.00 – 18.00 to 07.00 to 19.00. 

“We’re revolutionising the early start our children get in life – there will be more free childcare, it will be higher quality, and it will be more flexible for parents”. – Mr Clegg. 

“Must Cover Costs”

Purnima Tanuku, The chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association said “The funding allocated to early years provision must cover costs, otherwise it is not sustainable for many nurseries to participate in the free entitlement, without pushing up the price of paid-for care for other parents.”

Sharon Hodgson, shadow minister for children and families urges the government to develop a comprehensive plan for childcare. 

“…Ministers must be clear about how they are going to ensure enough well qualified staff and accommodation to provide good quality care for an extra 260,000 children. …As nurseries begin charging top-up fees, children’s centres funding is slashed, and family tax credits are being cut.” Sarah Teather, children’s minister said “High-quality early education is the key to making a difference early on in a child’s life”.