Cash boost for children from poorer families

Northamptonshire County Council is piloting the Early Years Premium scheme
Northamptonshire County Council is piloting the Early Years Premium scheme

Nurseries, childminders and other early years providers across Northamptonshire are set to benefit from a £50m national cash injection to help three and four-year-olds from low-income families.

Northamptonshire will be one of the first areas to benefit from new funding for early years education aimed at helping to close the gap in attainment between children from poorer backgrounds and their more well-off peers.

The county has been chosen to pilot the Early Years Premium which is being rolled out nationally to schools, nurseries and childminders from next year.

Cllr Matt Golby, cabinet member for learning, skills and education, said: “We know that children from poorer backgrounds are less likely to achieve the same educational attainment as other children so we hope that this funding can go some way towards creating a level playing field for all children, irrespective of their circumstances.

“Early years settings and schools will receive just over £300 a year for eligible three and four-year-olds. They’ll be able to use their expertise and judgement to decide how best to spend the funding to help children prepare to start school and narrow the gap in attainment between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers.”

Under the pilot scheme Northamptonshire will roll out the £500k allocation of pilot funding in the new year to test the delivery model ahead of a national rollout. The testing will include systems for checking eligibility and allocation of funding as well as helping to share good practice by gathering examples of how providers use the funding.

The Early Years Premium will be paid to local authorities through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and passed on to early years providers for each eligible child at the hourly rate of 53p per hour or just over £300 for a full-time place.