CHILDREN IN THE NORTH WEST WILL GET THE BEST START IN LIFE December 18th, 2013 admin Latest News Shares Comments CHILDREN IN THE NORTH WEST WILL GET THE BEST START IN LIFE New figures show cash boost for free childcare and Free School Meal The North West was given a boost of nearly £113 million to provide free childcare for two year olds, as well as over £19 million to help local schools provide universal free school meals to all infants, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced today. Councils across the country will receive over £755 million of government funding to provide 15 hours a week of free childcare for 40% of two year olds from September next year. In the North West, nearly £113 million will be available to double the number of children who will have access to high quality free childcare from 21,700 to over 42,000. Councils are urged to use the money to make the best use of their existing facilities – such as school nurseries and childminders – to deliver a boost to the number of high quality places which offer childcare from 8-6 and fit with the demands of modern, working life. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: “I want to give children the best possible start in life to get them ready to learn, progress, and aim high. That’s why we’re investing in early education for children in the North West to give them the chance to start school on an equal footing with their peers. Next year the number of two year olds who receive free childcare will nearly double giving over 42,000 children in the East of England access to high quality childcare that can make a real impact to their lives. “Parents, local authorities, nurseries and childminders should take up the offer their children are entitled to, make sure places are available and expand local childcare provision. Every child deserves to have the best start in life, regardless of their background, financial situation or family set-up, and this funding will help even more children and families get on in life.” Education and Childcare Minister, Elizabeth Truss, said: “I want parents to get the early years support their child is entitled to where they want it and at a time they need it which is why I’m encouraging North West councils to make sure this money goes towards providing parents with places that support those who want to work – giving them greater flexibility and choice. “Encouraging school nurseries to open from 8am-6pm rather than 9am-3pm and passing on funding to good and outstanding childminders will help offer places at the times we know parents need them. We have already made it easier for childminders to access funding for two year olds, and I want councils in the North West to pass more money down so parents are able to access the home based, flexible childcare that many prefer.” Also announced today was the amount of money available to ensure local schools have the capacity to provide extra free school meals. Every child in reception, years 1 and 2 in state-funded schools will be able to receive a free school lunch, saving parents who currently pay for a school lunch over £400 a year per child. An estimated 1.55 million additional infants across the country will be able to sit down to a free school meal from September 2014, of which 200,000 children in the North West expect to benefit. To help local schools expand their kitchen and dining facilities, where needed, over £19.2 million of government funding was announced today for the region. Commenting on free school meals, Nick Clegg said: “Making free school meals available for infants in the North West means children won’t miss out on getting a healthy meal during the day. This is good for their health and their studies “Parents can fork out around £400 for school lunches for each child every year. We want to do all we can to help ease the pressure on household budgets, and free school meals can help put money back in the pockets of these families.” Evidence shows that where children have been given a free school dinner, students were academically months ahead of their peers elsewhere and more likely to eat vegetables at lunchtime instead of less healthy food like crisps: Students were found to be on average 2 months ahead of their peers elsewhere. The universal entitlement pilot led to around a 2 percentage point increase in children reaching target levels in Maths and English at Key Stage 1; while at Key Stage 2 the impact on achievement was a 4 percentage point increase for English and 5.5 percentage points for maths. Academic improvements were most marked among children from less affluent families. There was a 26 percentage point increase in the number of children eating vegetables at lunch and an 18 percentage point drop in those eating crisps. Revenue Allocations – Funding Early Learning for Two-Year-Olds from Lower Income Households LA name 20% eligible numbers 20% statutory funding 40% eligible numbers 40% funding Trajectory funding Total funding Blackburn with Darwen 559 £515,119 1,420 £2,617,060 £406,008 £3,538,186 Blackpool 569 £524,334 1,090 £2,008,870 £311,654 £2,844,857 Bolton 1,007 £947,838 2,140 £4,028,548 £624,984 £5,601,370 Bury 514 £483,802 1,177 £2,215,701 £343,741 £3,043,245 Cheshire East 644 £603,975 1,269 £2,380,261 £369,271 £3,353,507 Cheshire West and Chester 689 £646,178 1,343 £2,519,062 £390,805 £3,556,045 Cumbria 906 £834,954 1,867 £3,441,190 £533,862 £4,810,007 Halton 476 £446,416 796 £1,493,056 £231,631 £2,171,103 Knowsley 659 £609,931 1,176 £2,176,872 £337,718 £3,124,521 Lancashire 2,875 £2,649,313 6,306 £11,621,958 £1,803,018 £16,074,288 Liverpool 1,925 £1,781,666 3,553 £6,576,894 £1,020,332 £9,378,892 Manchester 2,477 £2,331,475 4,680 £8,810,095 £1,366,788 £12,508,358 Oldham 881 £829,241 2,023 £3,808,295 £590,815 £5,228,351 Rochdale 893 £840,536 1,695 £3,190,836 £495,023 £4,526,394 Salford 999 £940,308 1,876 £3,531,568 £547,884 £5,019,760 Sefton 711 £658,060 1,429 £2,645,196 £410,373 £3,713,628 St. Helens 615 £569,208 1,043 £1,930,678 £299,523 £2,799,409 Stockport 655 £616,518 1,274 £2,398,304 £372,070 £3,386,892 Tameside 805 £757,706 1,534 £2,887,753 £448,003 £4,093,462 Trafford 450 £423,562 912 £1,716,839 £266,349 £2,406,750 Warrington 436 £408,902 834 £1,564,332 £242,689 £2,215,923 Wigan 943 £887,598 1,714 £3,226,603 £500,572 £4,614,773 Wirral 1,056 £977,371 1,846 £3,417,097 £530,125 £4,924,593 Universal infant free school meals capital in financial year 2014-15 Submit News Contact us with your community, business or sport news. 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