Triple support for disadvantaged pre-school children from Liberal Democrats would remove Tory freeze for thousands

December 5, 2019 10:32 PM

Poster- Nick CottThe Liberal Democrats have today announced they would triple funding for disadvantaged children aged three and four attending nurseries and other childcare providers.

Dr Nick Cott, Lberal Democrats candidate for Newcaastle North, explained that the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) - introduced by Liberal Democrats in Government in 2015 - gives childcare providers up to £302 extra a year for all disadvantaged children aged three and four that they look after. Around 99,000 children a year benefit from the extra funding.

Since May 2015, the Conservatives have frozen the EYPP in cash terms. Liberal Democrats would triple the EYPP to £1,000 per child, costing £65 million to £70 million in 2024/25.

In addition, Liberal Democrats will support families on low incomes by:

  • Investing £1 billion a year in children's centres;
  • Improving the quality of staff in early years settings, by requiring all providers to have a staff training programme with the majority of staff working with children to have a relevant early years qualification or be working towards one.
  • Providing 35 hours' free childcare from the day parents go back to work to the day their child starts school.
Nick Cott commented : "The achievement gap between richer and poorer children can best be closed in the early years. But under the Conservatives, it's widening. We cannot allow disadvantaged children to be left behind before they have even started school.

"Liberal Democrats will transform the lives of families with a massive expansion of free, high-quality childcare. At the same time, we'll give nurseries more money dedicated to supporting children from the poorest families and children in care.

"By investing in the early years, we can give every child a great start in life."


Background: The Early Years Pupil Premium is set at 53p per hour but is capped at a maximum of 570 hours a year, meaning the most a child is entitled to is £302.10 a year. These rates have not been increased since the policy was first introduced in 2015.

Children are eligible if they are aged 3 or 4 and their family is in receipt of certain benefits. It also applies to children in care or who have left care.

A Liberal Democrats government would triple the EYPP in its first year of office and increase it with inflation thereafter so that it reaches £1,000 in 2024/25.

In 2019, 99,179 children were eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium. (Source: http://qna.files.parliament.uk/qna-attachments/1149544/original/642_EYPP_table.pdf)

This funding announcement is on top of the Liberal Democrats' £12.3 billion pledge to provide 35 hours of free childcare for 48 weeks for every child aged 2-4 and children aged 9-24 months whose parents are both in work.

According to the Education Policy Institute, the attainment gap in the early years widened compared to 2018. Children in Year R on free school meals are now 4.5 months behind their peers on average. (Source: https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/annual-report-2019/)