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Ofsted is now publishing information on preschool providers including nurseries and childminders on its website from this week.
This means parents can have access to specific Ofsted reports so they can compare local providers and see what rating Ofsted has given them.
Also this week the Government has published details of the amount of money councils will get to provide up to 15 hours a week free early years provision to 130,000 disadvantaged two year olds from next September.
Each council will get on average £5.09 per child per hour which they have to pass on in full to providers. Councils will be told in future that they must use the money for free places or lose it. The Government is also keen to encourage councils to publicise the free places as widely as possible.
Anne Longfield,Chief Executive of 4Children said: “4Children particularly welcomes the Minister’s emphasis on transparency in the funding of this programme with a basic rate of £5.09 being provided to local authorities. We echo Elizabeth Truss MP’s call in ensuring that this funding reaches those on the frontline. It is also important that those disadvantaged families who will benefit most know about the funding and get access to this important resource.
“The two year old offer will be a vital tool in Early Intervention alongside other key services such as Children’s Centres, and it is important these continue to receive adequate resources in order to work with families from pregnancy to age five. In the Budget it is essential that the Chancellor priorities funding for Early Intervention as we know this makes a real difference to children and families.”
However, the Preschool Learning Alliance expressed concerns that £5.09 would not be sufficient to cover nursery’s costs. A recent survey of providers found 87.5% thought the free places for two year olds would cost them more than they received from their local authority.
The free places are being piloted in 10 areas this year, affecting just under 1,000 children and will be rolled out to around 150,000 two year olds by September 2013 and to 260,000 two year olds by September 2014.