The number of pre-schools, playgroups and day nurseries in Northamptonshire which are rated good or outstanding is on the rise.
There are now 90 early years education providers rated outstanding by Ofsted, compared with 64 in January 2014. In total, 89 per cent of early years education and childcare providers are rated good or outstanding, up from 81 per cent two years ago.
Northamptonshire County Council’s Early Years team has been working with providers to improve education and childcare for 0 to five-year-olds by offering training, information, challenge and support.
As a result, the proportion of children achieving a Good Level of Development – the indicator that demonstrated whether children are ‘ready for school’ – has increased from 50 per cent to 65 per cent in the last two years.
The county council is now encouraging parents of two, three and four-year-olds to take advantage of the free childcare they are eligible for.
Three and four-year-olds can benefit from up to 15 hours a week with an approved nursery, childminder or pre-school, while parents who receive Working Families Tax Credit with an income of no more than £16,190 are also eligible for up to 15 hours a week for their two-year-old.
Cllr Matthew Golby, county council cabinet member for families and learning, said: “It is only right that families in Northamptonshire should expect a good standard of pre-school education for their children and I’m delighted to see the number of good or outstanding providers is increasing.
“Our Early Years team has made a real difference to the quality of provision on offer across the county for pre-school children through a mix of bespoke training, leadership and mentoring.
“I would encourage families who would like their pre-school age child to benefit from quality education and childcare to find out more about the free hours they could be entitled to.”
Parents can find out more about early years education and childcare, including eligibility to free hours, at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/earlyyears.