Don Foster MP


600 two-year olds to get free early years education in B&NES

Liberal Democrat Children and Families Minister, Sarah Teather has announced details of funding which will mean two-year-olds are eligible for free early years education from September 2014.

Under the proposed criteria, 600 two-year-old children from the most hard pressed families in Bath & North East Somerset would be able to receive free early years education.

This is in addition to all three and four-year-old children in B&NES who are already eligible to receive 15 hours of free early years education per week.

Commenting, Don Foster, MP for Bath said:

“This is great news for parents and toddlers in Bath and the surrounding area. Early years education, through play and stories, helps young children prepare for school.

“It’s also a huge help to parents who may be struggling to juggle work commitments and having young children.

“Thanks to Liberal Democrats, one of the Coalition Government’s main priorities is to close the attainment gap between the poorest children and their more well-off peers.

“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.”

Councillor Nathan Hartley (Liberal Democrat, Peasedown), B&NES Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Youth added:

“I welcome the decision to increase the number of 2 year olds entitled to the free Early Years Entitlement.

Here in Bath and North East Somerset, this extra funding will make a big difference to so many people. For the children, this will give them a greater chance of success later on in life. For the parents, this will enable them to get back into work if they chose to.

I’m very grateful to the Liberal Democrat MPs who have lobbied on this, and are in government making free early years education a reality.”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

“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.

“All children should have a fair chance to get on in life, which is why we’re extending free childcare to two-in-five two-year-olds. The consultation is about making sure we get that right.”