HUNDREDS more two-year-olds in Portsmouth are to get free places at nursery schools or childminders over the next 18 months.
At the moment, around 240 children in the city get 10 free hours of early years education a week, under a government scheme run by Portsmouth City Council.
The government is now providing almost £3m of extra funding. It means that from April next year the number of children offered places will increase.
The number of hours offered will also go up from 10 to 15. By April 2014, places will be offered to around 1,400 children.
The places will go to the most disadvantaged families, to help give the children a good early start in life.
Councillor Rob Wood, the council’s cabinet member for children and education, said: ‘This increase in funding is great news for families in Portsmouth. Every child qualifies for free early education when they’re three, but we know that starting even earlier can really help children do well later on.’