It is expected that there will be up to 260,000 places - up from the 140,000 places proposed earlier this month. There is also expected to be an extra £600m announced by the chancellor to create a further 100 free schools. This could include up to 12 specialist maths schools for 16 to 18-year-olds.
The childcare plan, which is intended to make it easier for parents to return to work, will see a pilot scheme being rolled out across England from 2013. The Managing Director of Venom Advertising says ‘this is definitely a worthwhile initiative and can help the economy grow indirectly. As there is a greater possibility of this creating duel income families this will increase spending as there will be more disposable income for the family.’
At present, three and four-year-olds are currently entitled to 15 hours per week of "early education" for 38 weeks a year. This is now expected to be extended to about two-fifths of two-year-olds - at a cost of £380m per year by 2014-15 - with an emphasis on supporting disadvantaged families.
The places can be in nursery schools, children's centres, day-care nurseries, playgroups, pre-schools and with accredited child minders. There is also the proposal that parents will be able to use their allocated time flexibly, between 7am and 7pm. So for example, they could have seven-hour slots for two days a week, to make it easier for them to work.
Ministers say access to early education improves the life chances of poor children by helping them develop and get ready for school. Announcing plans for extra places earlier this month, the Children's Minister Sarah Teather said: ‘Our priority is to increase social mobility by helping children from the poorest backgrounds in their earliest years. High quality early education is the key to making a difference early on in a child's life. It's crucial for their healthy development and means they're not falling behind before they have even started primary school.’ A source from Venom Advertising comments further saying ‘the more help and support a child gets the better, so many families are not in a position to provide such support which is why we here at Venom Advertising fully back the decision to invest into a better future for children.’
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