20% of 2-year-olds from some of the poorest families are now eligible for free childcare – this number will double next year. The Deputy Prime Minister has announced how free childcare for 2-year-olds is being doubled so that 40% of families 'will benefit from Britain becoming a place fit for modern working families'.
From today, 130,000 2-year-olds from some of the poorest families are eligible for free childcare, based on whether their family qualifies for free school meals or whether they are looked after by the local authority. That is 20% of 2-year-olds. Next September, the number of 2-year-olds qualifying for free childcare will be doubled to 260,000 (40% of 2-year-olds), by opening up the offer to families that earn less than £16,190 per year and receive Working Tax Credits.
From September 2nd 2013, if you’re a parent on a low income with a 2-year-old in the family you’ll qualify for up to 15 hours a week of free early education for your child. This free support is focused on helping the families that need it most. That’s around 130,000 2-year-olds – one in every five 2-year-olds. Deputy prime Minister Nick Clegg states, 'And from this time next year, we will extend that helping hand even further, doubling the number of youngsters getting a brighter start in life. All the evidence shows that if you take two children – two 5-year-olds hanging up their coats next to each other on the first day of school – the poorer child will already be behind their better off classmate before a single lesson has been taught. Without this help, children suffer and the whole class suffers as teachers have to focus more of their efforts on children who are frustrated and left behind through no fault of their own.'
The government is investing £534 million this year to provide childcare for 130,000 2-year-olds from this week, and this will rise to £760 million in 2014 to 2015 to help the next 130,000 2-year-olds to get a better start in life.