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Free early education a winner with parents.

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31 May 2007

More young children than ever before are now benefiting from free early education, according to new figures published today.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to 12 and half hours early education for 38 weeks of the year - by 2010 it will be 15 hours a week. Virtually all four-years-olds and 96 per cent of three-year-olds are taking up the free entitlement which the Government funds with £3 billion a year. The latest statistics show that 1.13 million three and four-year-olds are taking up the entitlement to early education compared to 1.10 million last year and 0.95 million in 2001. Minister for Children, Beverley Hughes, said: “We know that high quality early learning makes a real difference to children’s development with lasting effects throughout primary school. “I’m delighted that so many parents are taking up this offer - they are giving their children the best start and helping them in the long term by boosting their communication, language and social skills. “We want to give all parents as much choice as possible - as well as benefiting children the free hours allow parents to sample childcare as a route back work and training.” The Government also provides over £2m a day through the tax credit system to help around 400,000 families with childcare costs. The number of childcare places has doubled since 1997 to 1.3 million places

Editor's Notes This press notice relates to 'England' 1. The statistics can be found at

2. Place numbers refer to registered places provided by full day care settings, out-of-school care and childminders (Source: Ofsted).

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