Yesterday I wrote about The Sun‘s positive write-up of Nick Clegg’s initiative this week on improving childcare. Today we’ve got the full details of this pre-school drive:
- Early rollout of free pre-school education for two-year-olds in ten areas – these areas will trial the entitlement, with just under a thousand two-year-olds set to benefit from this September.
- Greater flexibility for parents – the hours in which parents can bring in their children for their free place will be extended by two hours. Currently, parents are restricted by having to drop their children off no earlier than 8am and picking them up no later than 6pm. This will be extended to 7am – 7pm.
- Giving parents the option to spread their free nursery place over two days rather than three. Under the current rules, hours have to be divided over a minimum of three days, which means parents can only leave their children for five hours a day. This doesn’t offer enough flexibility for parents who work part time, for example. Currently, many working parents are unable to take up all of the hours available to them because of this.
- Revised statutory guidance making absolutely clear parents do not have to pay to access their child’s free early education place – this follows concerns that some free nursery places are being made conditional on parents being able to make additional payments.
As Nick Clegg puts it:
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.
By getting things right from the off we’re making sure our youngsters are ready to learn when they start school so that they get the most out of their education. Every child should have a fair crack at the whip from the start and be able to go on to fulfil their potential.
Meanwhile, over in the Evening Standard Sarah Sands is also praising Nick Clegg:
His intervention, for instance on raising the tax threshold for the lowest paid, makes a transforming difference to the poor.