�7.5m childcare boost for two-year-olds

Hundreds of two-year-olds in Norfolk will benefit from over �7.5m worth of early education next year under a scheme to be announcement today.

Childcare minister and Norfolk MP Liz Truss will make the announcement, which the government says will benefit 130,000 of the most disadvantaged youngsters nationally, from a children's centre in London this morning.

In the county a total of 1,668 two-year-olds will be eligible for the scheme, attracting a total of almost �7.68m.

Local authorities will be told to use the money to buy childcare for youngsters from nurseries and childminders classed as either 'good' or 'outstanding' by the education watchdog Ofsted.

Ms Truss said: 'I am calling on schools, nurseries and childminders to step up to the challenge so that all two-year-olds from low-income families are in good or outstanding settings.

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'We know that only high-quality early education has a long-term impact on school readiness.

'Therefore, I am urging local authorities to pass on all the funding for places to the front line, so that providers are able to retain and recruit the top quality staff that our youngsters deserve.'

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Local authorities will receive an average of �5.09 per child per hour, which they are expected to pass on in full to schools, nurseries and childminders.

This is significantly above the market rate, thought to be �4.13, in order to encourage providers to retain, recruit and train high quality staff.

Meanwhile a new online tool from Ofsted, also launched today, will allow parents and providers to compare how many good and outstanding providers there are in each local area.

Parents will also be able to see whether councils have passed their full allocations on to providers as the Department for Education will publish details of local authority spend on its website.

The government is also calling on councils to raise awareness of the scheme so that as many families as possible take up the offer.

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