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Boost for disadvantaged children as Lambeth named pilot area for free nursery scheme

Disadvantaged children in Lambeth are to benefit from an extra year of free early education under a new scheme launched in Brixton today.

Lambeth Council has successfully bid to the government to be pilot area for a new scheme that will see 2-year-olds who come from disadvantaged background given extra early education.

The new scheme was launched at the Effra Early Years Centre in Brixton by deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Childrens’ Minister Sarah Teather, as well as Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Rachel Heywood.

Lambeth is one of 10 pilot areas across the country to start the new scheme early, before its planned rollout across the country in September 2013.

The council bid to the government for £400,000, which will provide free places for more than 100 two-year-olds at nursery a year early. The scheme is designed to give children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those in care extra early support, and give them the skills they need to do well before they reach primary school.

Cllr Rachel Heywood, cabinet member for children and families at Lambeth Council, said: “This is great news for children and families from some of the most deprived parts of Lambeth. Studies show that many children from poorer backgrounds start primary school at a disadvantage. This funding is vital because it will help close the attainment gap by making sure they start school with the skills that they need to do well, giving these children the chances which they deserve.”

Evidence shows that disadvantaged children do not reach as good a level of development as others at age five.  Children who have access to high quality early education are more likely to start school ready and able to learn, with the skills they need to succeed.

Ann Hitchins, Headteacher at Effra Early Years Centre, where the scheme was announced, said: “Funding for the most disadvantaged 2 year olds in our local area has meant that we have been able to successfully engage with some of our most needy families at a much earlier stage in their children’s lives. By working together with them we are able to develop their trust and encourage them to participate in the services that Effra Early Years Centre offers, often resulting in improved outcomes not only for their own future but also for the future of their child.”


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