Since September 2014 40% more 2-year-olds have been entitled to 15 free hours of free early education per week - up from 20% the previous year.
Giving a helping hand to families that need it most will mean thousands more children get a brighter start in life. All the evidence shows that if you compare two 5-year-olds hanging up their coats next to each other on the first day of school, the poorer child will already be behind their better off classmate before a single lesson has been taught.
Without this help, children suffer and the whole class suffers as teachers have to focus more of their efforts on children who are frustrated and left behind through no fault of their own. This is why the criteria have been extended to those families who receive:
- Income Support/ Income based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Support under the VI of Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of state pension credit
- Child tax credit, (annual income (as assessed by HMRC) that does not exceed £16,190))
- Working Tax Credits (including the four-week period immediately after employment ceases, or start to work fewer than 16 hours per week) with a household income of less than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC.
This is a fantastic development as it helps: families, children and teachers.