5,000 West Midlands youngsters to get free nursery places

More than 5,000 two-year-olds in the Black Country and Staffordshire will get free nursery education from next September.

The Government is allocating almost £24 million to local authorities in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Staffordshire to pay for the move.

It will mean 5,209 youngsters will be eligible for 15 hours of free nursery education across the region.

Those eligible will be from families who earn no more than £16,190 each year, or youngsters who have special educational needs, a disability or are in care or adopted.

It is hoped the money will ensure more nurseries keep the best staff and give more children access to the high-quality early education they need to help them get on in life. The free education will be provided by good or outstanding nurseries and childminders in each area.

Some of the cash from the Government will also be used to build, extend or improve these nurseries.