Currently, all Manchester’s 3 and 4 year olds are eligible to get 15 hours per week of free early years education. Liberal Democrat Children and Families Minister, Sarah Teather has just announced details of which two-year-olds would be eligible for free early years education.
According to government figures 5000 Manchester children will get the benefit when the scheme is fully rolled out in 2014, with 2500 benefitting in year one next year. And because the criteria is based on free school meals, the poorest families benefit most.
This is great news for parents and toddlers in our area. Early years education, through play and stories, helps young children prepare for school.
By making early years education freely available to the least well-off families and giving additional money to schools whose pupils are eligible for Free School Meals through the Pupil Premium we are ensuring we give our children the best start in life in a way that Labour never did.
This will close the attainment gap between the poorest children and their more well-off peers.
A decent early education can make a huge difference to the start of a child’s progress, unlocking their potential to help them follow their ambitions.
It is good to see a Lib Dem Minister delivering for the less well off in Manchester.