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Changes to free early years education and childcare – opportunities for children’s speech, language and communication support?

June 2015

The new government set out its plans for education as part of its election manifesto. Now that the dust has settled we can see some of those promises being put into practice. A key feature of policy regarding families and children is the promise of 30 hours free childcare or early years education for working parents of three and four year olds; double the amount previously offered. The extra hours will be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week.

This is a key part of the Government’s drive to get people into employment as well as their commitment to reducing inequality due to poverty.

This entitlement is in addition to the offer for 2-year-olds in England who will be able to access free childcare or early years education (which takes place in pre-schools, day nurseries and with childminders). There are conditions about who will be allowed to claim; children will receive the funding if they:

The increase in free access to childcare and early years education will of course be welcomed by families. However, it will be really important to ensure quality as well as quantity of childcare so that it has the best impact for children. Ofsted tell us that ‘what makes the most difference to children is the quality of the interaction between adults and children, essential for developing good early skills’ and that means a focus on supporting young children’s speech, language and communication will be crucial. I CAN’s Early Talk 0 -5 is a programme that supports settings to develop most successful practice, and to help children to develop the speech, language and communication skills they need to start school.

For more information on the free childcare and early education offer visit the Government’s website

Read more about children’s speech language and communication development on Talking Point

I CAN have a range of programmes available to support staff and children in early years settings. Find out about them here.