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Government injects £50m in childcare funding

The government has announced £50 million in funding to support thousands of childcare places for pre-school children in England.

The current system provides 15 hours of free childcare to all three and four-year olds in England, including disadvantaged two-year-olds, but the Conservatives pledged to  double free childcare funding to 30 hours this year.
About 200 nurseries and pre-schools will share the funding to help deliver the 30-hour free childcare offer. The Department for Education estimated the funding will create nearly 9,000 more funding places.
Initially, £2 million of the public money will be invested in six opportunity areas, which are considered falling behind on social mobility.

Education secretary Justine Greening said: “We want Britain to be a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. That means removing the barriers facing parents who are struggling to balance their jobs with the cost of childcare, and spreading the opportunities available to hardworking families across the country.”
However, the nursery sector previously raised concerns about the move and warned repeatedly that more money was needed.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association, welcomed the funding saying it “is great news” but also warned:  “Our concerns about whether most nurseries can offer 30 hours of funded childcare to their parents and remain sustainable as businesses are still very much fundamental to the success of this policy.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “While today’s announcement will undoubtedly be welcomed by the 200 early years providers who will be benefiting... for the tens of thousands of nurseries, pre-schools and childminders who won't, the challenges ahead remain unchanged.”

Posted on: 10/01/2017

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