Lib Dems in early years funding vow

Funding to help boost the academic abilities of nursery schoolchildren from poor families would be tripled under a Liberal Democrat manifesto pledge.

The early years pupil premium would rise from £300 to £1,000 per child, the Liberal Democrats said
The early years pupil premium would rise from £300 to £1,000 per child, the Liberal Democrats said

The early years pupil premium would rise from £300 to £1,000 per child to help close the gap between children from low-income families and those from wealthier backgrounds, who are 19 months ahead by the time the start school, the party said.

Schools Minister David Laws said the plans would benefit more than 170,000 disadvantaged children from 2015.

"Liberal Democrats have delivered huge amounts for the early years in our time in Government," Mr Laws said.

"We have given extra free hours of early years education to all three-year-olds, and introduced free early years education to two-year-olds from the most hard-pressed homes. We have introduced new early years teachers, and we vetoed Tory plans that would have meant adults looking after up to six two-year-olds at the same time.

"By committing this extra money to help the youngest disadvantaged children in society, we will ensure that they get the best possible start in life and have an opportunity to get on.

"Investing in early years is one of the best ways to build the fairer society that Liberal Democrats want to see and we are ambitious about delivering for future generations. This extra investment will mean a huge amount of support for the people who need it most and demonstrates our strong commitment to education."