Sector welcomes plans to expand two-year-old offer

Sue Learner
Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Government plans to offer more disadvantaged two-year-olds ‘free’ childcare by changing the income threshold that determines which children are eligible.

PPS

The Government plans to offer more disadvantaged two-year-olds ‘free’ childcare by changing the income threshold that determines which children are eligible.

Under the proposals, the new Universal Credit, which is replacing means tested benefits, will be used to see who is eligible. The Government estimates the new net earnings income threshold of £15,400 per year for those in receipt of Universal Credit, will open it up to a further 8,000 children.

Minister for Children and Families Robert Goodwill called on ‘families, early years professionals and other experts’ to take part in the consultation – ‘so we can identify those children who need our support most’.

He added: ‘The introduction of Universal Credit lies at the heart of the Government’s commitment to help people improve their lives and raise their incomes. This consultation will make sure the two-year-old entitlement continues to be targeted where it is needed most.’

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association welcomed the proposals, saying: ‘Expanding the two-year-old offer to give more children the best start in life is the right thing to do.

‘Teachers are already seeing that children who have benefitted from the two-year-old 15 hours of funded childcare are starting school ready to learn. A play-based approach to high quality early education is the best way to reduce the widening inequality gap.’

At the same time she cautioned that the Government must not forget that the 30 hours scheme for three and four-year-olds – ‘is struggling on inadequate funding’.

No child will lose their childcare hours if they are already in receipt of the offer, regardless of the new earnings threshold. Around 160,000 disadvantaged two-year-olds currently receive 15 hours of ‘free’ childcare a week.

To view the consultation go to https://consult.education.gov.uk/early-years-fundi...

Keep up to date with Early Years!

Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date with Early Years education, process and events! We promise we won't spam you!