Extending Free Childcare is a Right says Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

November 14, 2011 8:14 PM

Liberal Democrats across Gloucestershire welcomed the news that free childcare place for two-year-olds will be extended nationwide from September 2013.

Earlier this year, Gloucestershire was one of 15 local authorities that benefited from £141, 881 additional funding to deliver the free entitlement for the two-year-olds that need it the most.

Currently, all three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of early education for 38 weeks a year. Under the pilot scheme, 20,000 two-year-olds received the free provision in a year.

In April 2011, it was estimated that in Gloucestershire there were approximately 800 families with a child aged two, with an income of £16, 190 or less and receiving Child Tax Credit.

Extending the scheme would mean 140,000 two-year-olds across England would benefit from 15 hours of free "early education" a week.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "I want us to give every child the best possible start - so free education for toddlers from the most disadvantaged homes will now be a right and not a privilege."

Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Jeremy Hilton said: "It is encouraging to see that Lib Dem Ministers are working hard to make money available to provide disadvantaged children high quality early education before they start primary school."

"It will be up to local authorities across the country to determine what funding they put to this purpose in the next financial year - It will however be a legal duty from 2013 therefore capacity building needs to happen now."