Free Childcare For 2 Year Olds
Hundreds of two year olds in Kent are to benefit from free childcare from September as part of a Government trial. The county is one of 10 pilot areas across England.
Parents will get 15 hours of free pre-school education which they can spread across two days. Nursery drop off and pick-up times are also being extended to give working mums and dads greater flexibility.
The scheme will be rolled out to more than 260,000 youngsters by 2014.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in his 2010 spending review that the free childcare currently available to three and four-year-olds would gradually be extended to two-year-olds in England.
Following a consultation, Mr Clegg announced that the first areas to benefit, in September this year, will be Kent, along with Blackpool, Cornwall, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lancashire, Newcastle, Northamptonshire, Peterborough and Rotherham.
He added that parents will be given the option to spread their free nursery place over two days, rather than three, and to use the free hours between 7am and 7pm, rather than 8am and 6pm. The changes are intended to make it easier to fit the childcare around working lives.
New guidance will also make clear that nurseries cannot make the free childcare conditional on parents also taking up additional paid-for hours.