Hundreds of free nursery places being provided for two-year-olds
Published: Friday 28th November 14
Hundreds of children from disadvantaged backgrounds are receiving free nursery sessions in Wandsworth as part of a £6m investment in their education and development.
The borough has seen a massive expansion in free nursery places offered to two-year-olds from the borough’s poorest families.
More than 800 children are currently receiving these free sessions. This represents nearly 62 per cent of eligible two-year-olds in the borough - and is the fourth highest take up rate in London.
Figures released by the Department for Education show that the national average take up rate is 55 per cent while the London average stands at just 43 per cent.
These Wandsworth places have been provided as part of a £5m investment in younger children’s education and are being delivered in existing nurseries and other Ofsted approved buildings.
Around £1m has been invested in bringing buildings up to the required high standard and ain providing new facilities and equipment. This includes a £475,000 spend on a new children’s centre in King George’s Park which will offer a full range of services for younger children every day of the week, including drop-in stay and play sessions free of charge when it opens in February.
Children’s services spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: “This huge expansion in provision means we are currently providing free nursery places for 805 children from the borough’s most disadvantaged and deprived backgrounds. This is having a hugely positive impact on their educational and social development.
“Many more children have benefited from this scheme over the past 12 to 18 months and gone on to take advantage of other early years placements that we provide for three and four-year-olds.
“The aim is to identify vulnerable children very early in their lives and target services to give them the best possible support before they start school. It also aims to support parents who need some childcare help to get back into employment.”