Free childcare for district’s two-year-olds

Children at  Little Acorns Nursery Knottingley who will be given free childcare as part of a council scheme. L-R Jenson Jewitt,Shanie Cawthra and Natalie Smith.
Children at Little Acorns Nursery Knottingley who will be given free childcare as part of a council scheme. L-R Jenson Jewitt,Shanie Cawthra and Natalie Smith.
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Free childcare places at the district’s top nurseries will be offered to thousands of disadvantaged two-year-old children.

A £3m government grant will pay for childcare providers to take on around 2,860 toddlers over the next two years.

The ‘Two Year Old Offer’ will provide 15 hours of free childcare a week at nurseries rated by Ofsted as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ to help parents back into work and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Nurseries will receive the cash to educate tots who are either looked after by Wakefield Council or eligble for free school meals.

Samantha Laing, who runs Little Acorns Nursery in Knottingley, said the scheme is a positive step.

She added: “It provides learning opportunities for children and gives parents who are unable to finance sending their child to nursery the chance to do so.

“We’ve had two-year-olds come in and settle in immediately, coming on leaps and bounds with their confidence and social interaction.”

Wakefield Council’s cabinet approved the plans at a meeting this week and letters have been sent out to eligible families.