24/09/2015 - Permalink

Government praise for Shropshire Council’s delivery of free childcare for two-year-olds

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Shropshire Council has been praised by the Government for its work to deliver free childcare for two-year-olds.

Latest figures show that in June 2015, the take-up of free education amongst eligible children in the council’s area was 76% (732 children).

This was above both the national average (63%) and the West Midlands average (59%), and places Shropshire second in the West Midlands.

In a letter to Clive Wright, Shropshire Council’s chief executive, Sam Gyimah MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education at the Department for Education, said:

“I am writing to thank you and your team for your work in delivering funded early learning for two year olds. Your ongoing dedication continues to raise the standards for children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and gives them the crucial support that they need in order to do well at school and beyond.

“I am sure that with your continued commitment, you will succeed in ensuring take-up among the remaining children eligible for this entitlement.”

Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said:

“We are very pleased with the current number of children taking up their entitlement to a free two-year-old place in Shropshire, although we recognise that there is still much work to do to sustain this success and further increase the numbers.

“We are especially pleased with all of the support we have had from health and education professionals within our partner organisations across the county which has contributed greatly to this success. Together we are all contributing to better outcomes for those children and families who need a little extra support.

“We would encourage anyone who thinks that they may be entitled to a free place to get in touch with us.”

Mr Gyimah also encouraged Shropshire Council to continue to share good practice with others through the DfE’s national support contractor, Achieving Two Year Olds (A2YO).

For more information about free places for two year olds, please visit http://shropshire.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/childcare-options-0-4/24u-childcare-for-2-year-olds/.