Jersey government's ambition for free nursery care for children under three

Work started on the report in 2019 but it was held up by the pandemic. Credit: PA Images

Jersey's government wants to introduce free nursery care for all children under the age of five.

It is one of the key recommendations in a long-awaited report by the Early Years Policy Development Board.

Work started on the report in 2019, but it was held up by the pandemic.

At present, the government funds 30 hours of nursery care a week for the year before children enter primary school.

However for under threes it is up to parents to pay, but many find it too expensive.

Charities currently provide some funding for those who cannot afford it, but these proposals would see a radical overhaul of nursery care across Jersey.

The cost of such a scheme is unclear, with initial estimates putting the bill at £2.4 million per year for what the report describes as "less advantaged youngsters".

Another £2.7 million would be needed for it to be extended to all children in that age group.

When ITV News went to the Children's Minister, Deputy Scott Wickenden to ask for a timescale, he was unavailable for comment.