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Deputy Prime Minister urges parents of two-year-olds to find out if they are eligible

Parents of toddlers turning two this April are being encouraged by the Deputy Prime Minister to check if they can get free childcare.

From this September, 15 hours of free childcare a week are being made available to around 130,000 two-year-olds from lower income backgrounds across England. The first of these eligible toddlers will have their second birthdays this month.

Local authority figures show that almost 19,000 children in the North West will be eligible this September.

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, said:

“High quality childcare can make a huge difference to children at the start of their lives. By getting things right from the off, they are much more likely to be ready when they start school.

“I want to make sure no child in the North loses out, which is why 18,773 children will be eligible from this September.

“If your son or daughter is turning two this April or later, they may be eligible for 15 hours free childcare a week. So make sure you check with your local nursery or local authority to find out if you’re entitled.”

Parents can find out if their child is eligible by contacting either their local nursery provider or their local authority. These places will initially be targeted on children from families receiving an out-of-work benefit and those who are looked after by their local authority.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are known to be more at risk of poor development, with evidence showing that differences emerge early on in life. High quality early education can make a difference to a child’s progress and the additional Government money will help to make sure children from poorer families do not lose out.

Local authorities are being encouraged to raise awareness of the offer of free childcare for two year olds so that as many families as possible take up the offer.

The Government has also announced capital funding allocations to councils totalling £100 million, to help build, extend or improve nurseries and early education facilities.

The free childcare entitlement for two-year-olds was rolled out early in 10 pilot areas last September.  Currently, more than 850,000 three and four year olds nationally access up to 15 hours of free early education every week.

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