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Government pledges to allow nurseries to decide how they spend the Early Years Pupil Premium

The Government has launched a consultation on the Early Years Pupil Premium and has promised to allow nurseries to decide how they spend the £300 per child. The £50m fund aims to help boost the development of three and four-year-olds from disadvantaged families.

Children eligible for the money include those from low-income families, who meet the criteria for free school meals, children that have been looked after by the local authority for at least one day, plus adopted children, those in care or subject to a child arrangement order.

There is already a gap when children from low income families start school compared to their more well off counterparts and the Government is hoping this money will help to close that gap.

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.

“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.”

Education minister Elizabeth Truss added: “Children from low income families are already behind their peers in language and communication by the age of five - this is not good enough.

“We expect nurseries will use this money to create more high quality nursery provision led by teachers.

“We know it's a challenge to close the attainment gap later on but with the introduction of the Early Years Pupil Premium we hope it will prevent this gap from emerging in the first place.”

Anne Long, 4Children’s chief executive, said: “There is a real opportunity to use the announcement as a springboard to maximise the impact of the free early years and childcare places for two-year-olds and the early years pupil premium for three and four-year-olds, and direct support to the most vulnerable pre-school children in a coordinated way that makes a real difference. We also think there is a real opportunity for children's centres to be much more involved in delivering this.”

However she would like to see the Early Years Pupil Premium being increased during the next parliament to the same amount per head as a primary school child would be allocated.

The consultation, ‘Early years Pupil Premium and funding for two-year-olds’, closes on 22 August 2014.

July 2014