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Early Years (Capital Funding)

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

I am announcing today £642 million of capital investment in early years settings from 2008-09 to 2010-11 to ensure every child can access high quality provision. This funding will play a key part in enabling local authorities to meet their duties to secure sufficient childcare in their area, to improve outcomes for children in the early years and to narrow the gaps between the most disadvantaged children and others.

This capital funding will focus in particular on the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector to ensure that all settings are of the highest quality and that all children—including those with disabilities—are able to access provision. The grant will also support small sessional providers to make the investments needed to deliver childcare more flexibly.

The grant aims to: (i) improve the quality of the learning environment in early years settings to support delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage, with a particular emphasis on improving play and physical activities and ICT resources, (ii) ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, can access provision in line with the new duty placed on local authorities in the Childcare Act 2006, (iii) enable PVI providers to deliver an extended free early education offer for all three and four-year-olds and make access more flexible.