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Pre-School Education: Finance

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will estimate the cost of extending the pre-school entitlement for three to five year olds to 48 weeks a year; and if he will make a statement. (304201)

From September 2010 all eligible children will be entitled to 15 hours a week of free provision over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year offered on a more flexible basis to better meet families' needs.

We are not extending the free entitlement to 48 weeks of the year. However, in “Next Steps for Early Learning and Childcare” (January 2009) we committed to ensuring that parents will have the choice to stretch the free entitlement over more than 38 weeks, enabling them to take fewer hours per week over more weeks of the year. This will support parents to cover holidays, keep costs constant and help them to budget more consistently. Over 48 weeks, a stretched entitlement would equate to just under 12 hours a week.