Free childcare plans welcomed by city leader

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PROPOSALS to help 600 disadvantaged two-year-olds access free childcare have been welcomed by the leader of Portsmouth City Council.

The government scheme is designed to help youngsters prepare for school – where children from poorer families tend to do less well – and to help their parents get back into work.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I’m pleased for these families, as helping people get back into work can make a huge difference to children through their life at school.

‘Helping these children do better in school is really important, not just for them and their families, but for the economy of the city.’

Currently all three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week – but under the new proposals this would extend to two-year-olds from families who qualify for free school meals from September 2013.

Parents would be able to use their hours flexibly, between 7am and 7pm, helping them to go out to work.