Disadvantaged three and four-year-olds are to benefit from a new fund designed to prevent them falling behind before they start school.
The new early years pupil premium is worth £300 per child and will help to narrow the attainment gap between youngsters from low-income families and their peers.
A consultation has been launched on how this can help nurseries raise their standards of provision. They will have the freedom to spend the money by, for example, employing more qualified staff or specialists in activities like speech and language.
Research reveals youngsters from low-income families are estimated to already be 19 months behind more advantaged peers when they start school.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "Every child deserves the chance to fulfil their potential, and this extra funding is a boost to help our youngest children get on in life and succeed."
The early years pupil premium builds on the pupil premium, which was established in 2011 to help youngsters from low-income families.
Posted by Harriet McGowan