Disadvantaged children in seven local authorities around the UK are to benefit from new government funding
More than £1 million is to be distributed among local authorities in Blackpool, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Hackney and Stoke-on-Trent, helping them to implement the early years pupil premium (EYPP).
Early years providers delivering the funded entitlement for three and four-year-olds will receive up to £300 extra per year for each disadvantaged child who meets the eligibility criteria.
If these youngsters are receiving a government-funded early education and their parents receive benefits used to access eligibility for free school meals (FSM), the extra funding will be available to them.
Statistics reveal there is a pressing need for interventions in this age group. A 2014 survey showed disadvantaged three and four-year-olds are up to seven percentage points less likely to participate in early education.
In 2013, only 36 per cent of pupils eligible for FSM achieved a good level of development in the early years (under-fives) foundation stage compared with 55 per cent of other pupils.
Feedback will be requested from councils before the full £50 million EYPP is implemented throughout England in April 2015.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "This new funding from the early years pupil premium will allow schools and nurseries to give extra help to toddlers from the poorest families so they can develop and learn quickly and prevent them falling behind other children when they start school."
Childcare minister Sam Gyimah called on parents who meet the EYPP criteria to inform local providers of their eligibility.
Last year's Effective Pre-school Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) report 'Influences on students' development at age 16' revealed quality of provision can have a major impact on a child’s school readiness.
Attending pre-school has been shown to be more beneficial for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Posted by Tim Colman