Parents who have children receiving free early years education are overwhelmingly pleased with the quality of care and teaching, it has been revealed.
According to a survey published by the Department for Education (DfE) nearly nine out of ten parents are satisfied - highlighting the sterling job being done by professionals in early years teaching jobs.
It comes as particularly welcome news for the government, with plans underway to roll out access to free nursery places for more two-year-olds who qualify for free school meals.
The statistics also show that the overwhelming majority (96 per cent) of three and four-year-olds in England are benefiting from free early education, with over 1,264,000 children taking up their entitlement to the service.
This is around 40,000 more children than in 2011, with the report also revealing that more hours per child are now being spent in early years education.
Both deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and children and families minister Sarah Teather welcomed the report's findings as proof that the government's drive to revolutionise nursery education by opening it up to younger children was a step in the right direction.
Mr Clegg remarked that the figures show how much parents value free early years places and the benefits they can have for families as a whole.
"We're picking up the pace, rolling out free early education to disadvantaged two-year-olds in ten areas from this September, before we do so across the whole country next year," he added.
Liberal Democrat MP Ms Teather said that parents know the value that nursery education brings to their child's life and by 2014/15 the government will be spending £760 million funding free places for two-year-olds.
"It provides the perfect preparation for school life, and I am delighted that even more young children are gaining through early education," she commented.
Posted by Alan Douglas