Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed news that Oasis Academy Warndon in Worcester will benefit from new investment in nursery school places.

The Government is investing £22 million in creating up to 1,800 new school-based nursery places across the country, so that more children can access high-quality early education. At the same time, a new national campaign has been launched to boost children’s early literacy and communication skills, ensuring every child gets the best start in life.

This follows data released last month showing that 4,773 children in Worcestershire are benefiting from the Government’s 30-hour free childcare offer, which saves working families around £5,000 per year per child.

Robin has congratulated Oasis Academy Warndon on their successful bid which will help to extend their nursery, creating more places for children in Worcester. The announcement comes alongside the launch of the government’s early learning Hungry Little Minds campaign, which will give parents tips on how to use everyday opportunities, such as shopping and playtime, to help improve children’s language skills before they start school.

Commenting on the announcement, Robin said:

“All parents want to give their children the best possible start, and I’m thrilled that this new investment will help more local families with the challenge of balancing work and family life. 

“For parents, high-quality childcare is not just an issue, but the issue, and I know from speaking with families in Worcester what a difference 30 hours of free childcare is making. I want every child in Worcester to have the best start in life and formal childcare can have a positive impact on children’ early social and emotional skills. I am pleased that Oasis Academy Warndon has been successful in their application to create more nursery school places for children in Worcester.”

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

“Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life but not everyone has family support at hand and there is no manual telling us how to do everything right.”

“Part of making sure our children have the opportunity to take advantage of all the joys of childhood and growing up is supporting them to develop the language and communication skills they need to express themselves. Sadly, too many children are starting school without these – and all too often, if there’s a gap at the very start of school, it tends to persist, and grow.”

“The only way we are going to solve this is through a relentless focus on improving early communication. So today, we’re launching a society-wide drive with new nursery places, support from business and steps to make learning easier in the home – to improve early learning across the country.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • £22 million of capital investment will support the delivery of up to 1,800 new school-based nursery places across the country. 66 projects have been awarded funding in total, with provision focused in areas with high numbers of families who qualify for free school meals (DfE, 2 July 2019, link). 
  • Data released last month showed that 378,774 children were in 30-hour childcare places from April to July this year. The Government’s 30 hours free childcare offer for working parents launched nationally on 1 September 2017.The doubled the former 15 hour entitlement introduced in 2010 (DfE, 8 May 2015, link; DfE, 31 August 2017, link; DfE, 13 June 2019, link).
  • The percentage of children reaching a good level of development by the end of Reception has increased from 51.7 per cent to 71.5 per cent since 2013. To increase this further, the Government’s ‘Hungry Little Minds’ campaignwill support parents with video tips, advice and suggested games to help them use everyday opportunities to support their children’s development (DfE, 2 July 2019, link). 
  • The proportion of early years providers rated good or outstanding has risen from 74 per cent in 2012 to 95 per cent this year. More childminders and nurseries are providing good and outstanding childcare so that every child gets the opportunity to get on in life (Ofsted, Ofsted Annual Report 2017/18: education, children’s services and skills, 4 December 2018, link; DfE, Childcare providers and inspections, 18 June 2019, link).