The government is to legislate to enable more schools to offer nursery services for two-year-olds as part of new plans to ease the child care crisis and provide high-quality, affordable care for working parents, the Telegraph reports.
Education Minister Liz Truss told the newspaper many schools were being put off by a law that requires any school seeking to take care of children under three to register with Oftsed. She said the government will legislate in September to remove this "barrier."
The Department for Education said the changes would benefit children from the most disadvantaged families, who are already behind their peers by the time they start school at five.
"The evidence shows that starting younger, with high quality teacher-led provision, can have a real and lasting impact on children’s development and life chances, particularly for those from the most disadvantaged families.”
Primary schools in England will be encouraged to take toddlers as young as two under new government plans aimed at easing the childcare crisis, the Telegraph reports.
Education minister Liz Truss is writing to every council to suggest that school nurseries should extend their opening hours to allow parents to leave toddlers during the working day. Speaking to the Telegraph, she said:
"Schools have excellent facilities. It is age appropriate, so what you are doing with two-year-olds in terms of singing, reading stories, playing with paint is very different from what you do with a seven-year-old."
“If you have a really high quality school nursery, children who are behind can catch up with their peers by the time they start school.”
"By the end of this year, 40 per cent of all two-year-olds - equivalent to 130,000 children from poorer backgrounds - will be entitled to 15 hours of free care a week. Middle-class parents will have to pay for the service."