Cash for free childcare revealed

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GOVERNMENT chiefs have revealed funding allocations to councils aimed at providing 15 hours of free childcare a week for children in low income families.

Officials say the funding will help ensure more nurseries keep the best staff and give more children access to the high-quality early education they need to help them get on in life.

The Department for Education funding is being provided at a flat rate per child per hour and local authorities will receive an average of £5.09 per child per hour, for statutory places, which they are expected to pass on in full to schools, nurseries and childminders.

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

In Hartlepool, the estimated eligible number is 343 children and the funding allocation is £946,348, with £237,071 set aside for building improvements.

Meanwhile, in County Durham, the eligible number is 1,304 children with funding worth £3,603,574 allocated and £902,735 for building improvements.

The aspiration is that all eligible two-year-olds are able to receive early education in good and outstanding settings and has called on local authorities to raise awareness.

In future, funding to councils will be based on the number of participating children with less money going to local authorities that have not ensured parents are taking up these places.