Cash boost for nurseries

Share this article

Almost 2,000 Sheffield three and four-year-olds are to benefit from a new £50 million programme to prevent disadvantaged children from falling behind even before they have started school.

Schools and nurseries will receive over £300 per child, in an extension to the existing Pupil Premium funding programme.

The aim is to narrow the attainment gap between youngsters from low income families and their peers, setting on the path to a more successful future.

Sheffield’s share of the pot is £560,000, while Rotherham will receive £260,000 and Barnsley £290,000.

According to research, children from low income families are estimated to already be 19 months behind more advantaged youngsters when they start school.

High quality early education can close this gap and improve results later on in life.

Consultations are to begin on how best to make the scheme work, but nurseries could decide to take on more qualified staff or employ specialists in speech and languages.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Every child deserves the chance to fulfil their potential, and this extra funding is a boost to help our youngest children get on in life and succeed.”

The Pupil Premium for schools was introduced in 2011 as a flagship LibDem policy, which sought to target funds directly to needy children rather than schools in poorer areas.