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New £50 million fund to help disadvantaged toddlers

IMPROVEMENT: The government hopes to help disadvantaged toddlers achieve in school with a £50 million fund

THREE AND four-year-olds from low-income families are to benefit from a new £50 million fund to prevent them falling behind before they have even started school.

The new early years pupil premium, worth over £300 per pupil, is designed to narrow the attainment gap between young children from low-income families and their peers, setting them on the path to a more successful future.

According to research, children from low-income families are estimated to already be 19 months behind more advantaged peers when they start school. High-quality early education can close this gap and improve results later on in life.

The early years pupil premium, which is part of the government’s programme of reforms to help children get ready to begin school, includes expanding 15 hours of free early education to 40 per cent of 2-year-olds, tougher inspection and accountability through a stronger Ofsted framework and improving the quality of staff entering the early years workforce by introducing early years teachers.

The early years pupil premium aims to help nurseries raise the quality of their provision.

Nurseries will have freedom to decide how to use the money to help 3- and 4-year-olds learn and develop.

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.

He added: “Boys and girls from poorer families have often already fallen 19 months behind their better off classmates by the time they hang up their coat on the first day of school. Increasing their chances of success has got to be a top priority.”