Department for Education
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Government announces £4bn for sure start, early years and childcare

Government announces £4bn for sure start, early years and childcare

DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES News Release (2007/0144) issued by The Government News Network on 2 August 2007

The Government today underlined its determination to improve life for disadvantaged children in England, with a cash injection of more than £4bn to children's centres, early years education and childcare.

The money will go towards:

* Providing a Sure Start Children's Centre in every community
* Outreach work to reach the most disadvantaged families
* Training and support for the early years workforce
* Ensuring there are sufficient childcare places in each Local Authority
* Ensuring every nursery and children's centre has a graduate to lead children's learning and development

The £4bn grant, spread over three years, will go towards fulfilling the pledge that there will be a Sure Start children's centre for every community by 2010. Some of the money will be targeted at the most disadvantaged areas to enable children's centres to employ extra outreach workers to visit parents in their own homes and encourage them to take advantage of the parenting support and other services on offer through centres.

Sure Start Children's Centres will give all parents and their children a place to go and a one-stop shop to find the services they need - from maternity checks to childcare to advice on getting back to work.

Beverley Hughes, Children, Young People and Families Minister said:

"The early years are crucial to a child's development and their future prospects. We need to put services in place that can give every child the very best possible start in life. Local Authorities now have the money to make that happen."

The grant will also pay for additional training and support for the early years workforce. This is to make sure that every child has the high quality provision we want them to receive. By funding the training directly we can help keep costs down and keep childcare affordable. Quality will also be driven up by teacher advisors visiting all nurseries to see if quality is good enough, and offering advice and help.

The grant also includes funding to make sure there are sufficient childcare places in each Local Authority area to allow parents to go back to work or into training, and to increase the take-up of childcare and early education especially among disadvantaged groups. The funding will help Local Authorities identify needs, work with local providers to meet them and make sure parents know what is available.

As part of the grant, £175m has been earmarked across three years to support the private, voluntary and independent sector providers of early education and childcare. It will also help ensure that every full daycare nursery and childcare centre has at least one graduate (with two graduates in the most disadvantaged areas). Research shows that this can have a dramatic impact on a child's early years' education.

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. As of 10 July 2007 there were 1,325 Sure Start Children's Centres providing access to services for over a million children and their families.

2. The aim is to have 2,500 Centres by 2008 so that the most disadvantaged families will have access to a Children's Centre; and 3,500 Centres by 2010, so that there will a Centre in every community.

3. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) 3-11 Project states that "settings which had staff with higher qualifications showed a higher quality and their children made more progress with regard to intellectual/cognitive and social/behavioural development". This research goes on to show the particular importance of graduate leaders.

4. DCSF has recognised that there is more to do in order to reach the most disadvantaged children. That is why we have contracted with Together for Children - a private and voluntary sector consortium - to support the delivery of Sure Start Children's Centres and to make sure they do the best possible outreach work. We have also produced clear guidance based on that good practice about how to reach out to specific groups such as fathers, parents of disabled children or parents who are themselves disabled. We have also given guidance to local authorities on performance management of centres - including how they check on who is being reached. We have also invested in training for centre managers to help them with this really tough job.

5. The grant includes £68m in 2008/09 only to meet the start up costs of extended schools. This sum is part of the £1.1bn funding over 3 years for extended schools announced on 25 July. From 2009/10 onwards all funding for extended schools will be part of the Standards Fund.

6. In addition to this grant, local authorities also receive funding for the free early years entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds, currently £3bn pa. Additional funding to extend the free entitlement to 15 hours will be allocated in the autumn.

7. A full breakdown of allocations is available from http://www.surestart.gov.uk.

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