Government plan to expand preschools to accept two-year-olds attacked as ‘nonsensical’

The Independent is reporting that  the Government’s controversial plan for schools to expand to take two-year-olds in nurseries has been condemned as “nonsensical” after official statistics revealed the vast majority of schools do not plan to take part…

According to the statistics published by the Department for Education, only six per cent of primary school nursery classes currently offer funded two-year-old places – and of those that don’t, only 12 per cent plan to offer places in the future.

Ministers have argued that schools are ideally placed to provide extra childcare places for working parents and boost the performance of disadvantaged youngsters.

But the Pre-school Learning Alliance, an early years charity, highlighted the figures and called on the Government to stop the “disproportionate” focus on school nurseries, arguing that private daycare nurseries and childminders needed more support.

Neil Leitch, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The Government believes that encouraging more primary schools to take two-year-olds will support the expansion of the free entitlement offer, but these statistics clearly show that that is simply not the case. For the Government to continue to focus so heavily on promoting school nurseries as a source of provision for funded two-year-olds, therefore, is completely nonsensical.”

He argued that 96 per cent of two-year-olds currently receiving free childcare places were cared for either by private nurseries or childminders.

He added: “The Government should recognise the pivotal role of the private, voluntary and independent sector in the delivery of early years care and learning and look to build on this progress, rather than spending a disproportionate amount of time and effort on a school-focused approach that has little chance of succeeding.”

The Government has already expanded its free childcare scheme to provide 15 hours of free care a week to 40 per cent of all two-year-olds.

It has also legislated to remove “red tape” by make it easier for schools to expand by no longer requiring them to register with Ofsted before they take in two-year-olds…

More at: Government plan to expand preschools to accept two-year-olds attacked as ‘nonsensical’


Does this lack of take up suggest the government has been wrong to emphasise the role schools can play in creating extra nursery places? Or do they still represent the best opportunity for expansion to meet extra demand? Tell us what you think…


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Categories: Pre-school.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Govt opinion of what schools do is highlighted by this policy: schools are just free childcare in ministerial eyes

  2. jess_madge

    SchoolsImprove ‘Tis nonsensical. 2 yr olds need toilet training. Many of them don’t talk much yet. School is wrong environment.

  3. garrodt

    SchoolsImprove Its a pathetic attempt for more votes,what next Scottish votes for 10 yrs olds ? Desperate to win at any costs !

  4. shafattack

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove 2? Get them as they emerge, THEN can keep parents in rat trap longer! fantastic! They’ll be geniuses by 4!

  5. nrcantor

    SchoolsImprove If properly approached, schools would make an excellent way of providing childcare. Not holding my breath it’ll be done well

  6. MPierlejewski

    SchoolsImprove why is the government looking to provide this in schools when Surestart centres are the ideal solution?

  7. andylutwyche

    shafattack SchoolsImprove Hadn’t thought of that! Why don’t they take them straight from the womb; cut out the damaging parent bit

  8. BoHetherington

    nrcantor SchoolsImprove a school is never a child care service. The day it becomes one it loses it’s fundamental purpose. To educate.

  9. nrcantor

    BoHetherington SchoolsImprove That’s not primary school’s purpose. If it was, they’d use evidence instead if ideology to inform practice.

  10. BoHetherington

    nrcantor SchoolsImprove that’s the current problem with neoliberal education but regardless it’s not a babysitting service for parents.

  11. nrcantor

    BoHetherington SchoolsImprove School practically defines a babysitting service. Parents drop off, go to work, and pick up after.

  12. nrcantor

    BoHetherington SchoolsImprove There’s nothing wrong with someone else looking after your kids for a while, & school does that already.

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