On top of the £32m and £850k for Basic Need funding and provision of new kitchen facilities, the third good news story Cornwall Council has received is on two-year olds funding.
The Council has been allocated £6m by the Government to provide free childcare for two years olds in Cornwall.
The Government announced earlier this year that they were extending the funding for providing free childcare places for two-year olds to 40% of all eligible 2 year olds. Currently all three and four year-olds in England are currently entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year.
The Government has previously provided funding for a small number of free places for two years old.
Cornwall Council currently fund over 1,200 eligible two-year olds and in 2014/15 this will increase to over 2,300 children. All councils have been asked to provide the additional places by September 2014. However, the Council will be implementing this early from January, much earlier than required.
Under the new scheme 2-year-olds who meet any one of the following criteria will be eligible:
- if they meet the eligibility criteria also used for free school meals
- if families are receiving Working Tax Credits or Universal Credit and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190 per year
- if they have a current statement of special educational needs (or in future an education, health and care plan)
- if the 2-year-old attracts Disability Living Allowance
- if the 2-year-old has left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order
- Cornwall’s local criteria where children will be automatically eligible regardless of income:
- if they are looked after by their local authority
- children supported through social work (child protection, child in care or child in need)
- families within the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Community
If there are any funds remaining when the Government’s criteria has been met, the Council will allocate additional free places based on additional local criteria. This will be monitored monthly by the Early Years Panel:
- children who have English as an additional language
- a child whose main carer has left care
- a child whose main carer is a teenage parent
- a child whose family is supported by the Together for Families programme
I am extremely pleased with this and the other two good news stories. As it has been a tough year for the Council in funding terms. Which we all know is going to get a lot tougher. Credit where credit is due should also be paid to the Government and the DFE for this funding.