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Free education for disadvantaged toddlers in Lincolnshire could be extended

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: January 07, 2012

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Disadvantaged two-year-olds in Lincolnshire will be offered free education under a new Government scheme.

Currently, Lincolnshire County Council offers between ten and 15 hours of free early education to a targeted number of children.

But under new plans this could be extended to 1,800 disadvantaged toddlers from September 2013.

The new plans will also make the free education entitlement more flexible and will also be extended to include children being looked after by the state.

Assistant director of children's services at the county council, Debbie Barnes, said: "As part of a two-year pilot we've had additional government funding for 171 places for the most disadvantaged children across Lincolnshire, providing ten hours of early years provision per week.

"As we've been delivering this funding in a proactive and targeted way, making the most of every single hour, 833 children have benefited from this so far.

"This demonstrates, once again, that we have the interests of children at the heart of all we do here in Lincolnshire.

"We are well ahead of the game and remain committed to giving children and young people the best start in life.

"The government funding ceased in March this year, but we committed money to allow it to continue.

Further government funding will be re-introduced in 2013, which means up to 1,800 two-year-olds will gain from this opportunity each year.

"We will continue to ensure the most disadvantaged families can access this entitlement to support their children to learn and gain the skills they need to succeed."

This fulfils a promise made by Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in October 2010, in which he pledged to extend the free entitlement currently available to all three and four-year-olds.

Mr Clegg said: "I want us to give every child the best possible start – so free education for toddlers from the most disadvantaged homes will now be a right and not a privilege.

"Crucially, the extra care will be flexible and also easy to access.

"Parents across the country are bending over backwards to balance work and home. The Coalition wants to help in whatever way we can."

Sarah Teather, children's minister, added: "Our priority is to increase social mobility by helping children from the poorest backgrounds in the earliest years.

"High quality early education is the key to making a difference early on in a child's life.

"It's crucial for their healthy development and means they're not falling behind before they have even started primary school.

"We want more children to be able to access their full early education entitlement.

"Too often, the most disadvantaged children don't get what they are entitled to. It's important we target early education at those who stand to benefit the most.

"We also want to make the entitlement more flexible.

"This is so that children don't miss out on early education and parents can help balance their work and family life more easily."

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  • yummymummy710  |  January 12 2012, 8:16PM

    Hmmmm, how enlightening this is! I am a single mother of two, my daughter being 4 and a half and in full time school on free school meals and my son being 19 months and on the waiting list for his 10 free hours on this scheme, I am one of those so-called "dole dossers" and for 1 reason only! After applying for several jobs (having had a work break to have my children and raise them for so long fully) I was told I was over-qualified and over-experienced for many, I finally got shortlisted for a sales job and subsequently shortly afterwards was offered the position. Being on Income Support I made an appointment to see my personal advisor at the job centre to sort everything out, after myself and my personal advisor worked everything out money wise I would have been working a full time job suffering with my .M.E., not seeing my children and for the pittance of £5 spare (before my travel to and from work) a month! So to be frank and up front to those of you who have commented on this article with your very degrading; derogatory and condescending remarks I say to you that you shouldn't say that everyone on the dole is a "scrounger" or a "dole dosser" and that we all sit on our backsides and do nothing; etc as we are not all the same so don't judge us as one big group! I would love to work but for nothing and no time with my kids why should I? Instead I am making my contribution through voluntary work (which I have done since the age of 14, now being 24) and by also training as a teacher of English and Theatre Studies so once qualified I can have a decent, secure career and future for myself and my children and put something back into the pot I have been paid my benefits from for the past 4 years!

  • saddletramp2  |  January 08 2012, 4:51PM

    El_Supremo You should take up teaching for a living or are you not as smart as your ass ?

  • El_Supremo  |  January 08 2012, 9:44AM

    @saddletramp2 I'm curious - who was it who taught you to start sentences with lower case letters and clauses with upper case letters and that spaces around commas and full stops are arbitrary? Also, what do you think the purpose of the apostrophe actually is?

  • saddletramp2  |  January 07 2012, 7:16PM

    The way i read the article it's for disadvantaged children and not their parents. Maybe the people criticising have had a privileged life due to good fortune but others have to rely on help of others to get through life's up's and downs.i know some take it for granted but most may have hit on hard times and have already paid taxes,Even working couples have hand out's for child care and free school meals as Gnome_Chomsky as already stated . You may think you are immune to their kind of life but never say never it may also happen to you and then you will not be so inconsiderate with your remarks towards those who need our help.

  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  January 07 2012, 5:32PM

    Pittacus, you troll. This is nothing to do with rewarding parents. The eligibility criteria include qualifying for free school meals. Plenty of children of working parents will receive free nursery provision. As for children looked after by the state, please explain how you think their parents are being rewarded?

  • Wolf2010  |  January 07 2012, 3:55PM

    they always go for one ext ream or the other that's why our "middle class" miss out again!!! I have 2 kids and a full time job, my friend who has two kids and is on the dole earns more than I do, go figure! and guess what all you working people they will make more cuts to family tax credits this year, our "help with child care went down so much my husband has had to get a second job, oh well maybe the fact that we will not receive our state pension wont matter because we will all have dropped dead from work overload, I am not gonna get sad or mad about it or it might ruin my life (lol) at least all the kids from "the poorest backgrounds" will be qualified enough to work in the state care homes the government will be forced to build because there will be more oldies due to the baby boom in the 80's, and the balance will be restored once again. or maybe the world will end on the 21st December and I have just wasted two minuets of my life??

  • Pittacus  |  January 07 2012, 3:19PM

    We always seem to go the extra mile to find ways of rewarding parents who have kids regardless of their ability to raise them properly. The real 'disadvantaged kids' are those who have hard-working parents who pay their taxes. I am sick and tired of seeing the prodigy of the indolent being given preferential treatment over those who graft for a living

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