Nurseries: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of James Davies James Davies Conservative, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with teaching representatives on extending the £1 billion Covid-19 catch up fund to include nurseries.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We know that young children have missed out on early education at a crucial period of cognitive and behavioural development. This is especially significant for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, which may widen the early development gap.

The most effective intervention government can take to address this is to get children back into early education. Children in early years were the first priority for the reopening of education settings.

Since 1 June, early years settings have been able to welcome back children of all ages. We want to ensure councils and early years providers can get children back into settings as quickly as possible, where they can be fully supported during this crucial period for their development.

Fifteen hours of high quality free early education is provided for all three- and four-year olds and disadvantaged two-year olds. An additional fifteen hours (30 hours) is provided for eligible working parents for three- and four-year olds.

We will work with the sector to explore how best to continue to support children’s early development, including through the department’s Hungry Little Minds campaign which we will use to continue to provide support for parents to develop their children’s early language and literacy.

Information on the Hungry Little Minds campaign can be found at:

https://hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk.

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