Head Of Ofsted Urges Parents To Take Up Free Nursery Places For 2 Year Olds

13 July 2015

michael wilshaw nursery pm

The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has urged families from 'poorer backgrounds' to take up the free nursery places that are offered for  two year olds, as it can help them catch up with their 'richer' peers in performance. The government scheme of free nursery places for two year olds has been extended this year so that even more families than before are entitled to free early years education. Children get the free places if they are in care, have disabilities, special needs or their parents are in receipt of benefits and earn under a certain income.

It seems that 50% off all children entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education are not using it, and without it the gap between disadvantaged children and those from better off homes looks to start before they are even in formal education at age 4.

This issue causes a lot of strong feelings amongst parents, with some feeling that is unfair that free 'childcare' is given to those who are at home with their children, although many who are entitled are working and on low incomes. Others feel that two is too young to start any sort of formal education setting anyway.

There is also the issue of finding the places in over-subscribed nurseries, especially with the government's plans to double the free pre-school education for 3 and 4 year olds from 15 hours to 30 hours a week from next year.

So what do you think about this issue? Are you entitled to a free nursery place for your 2 year old, and if so have you taken it up or not?

To find out if you are entitled to free education and childcare visit the government's childcare web pages here.


  • Hlp87
    It's not fair on those working families though that are above threshold to receive these places but unable to afford to send child to nursery before 3. My husband and I both work and could do with help on childcare but because we are above threshold get nothing so in a way disadvantage get those working families
  • Cleo83
    I work part time on minimum wage so entitled to free 15 hours as of Jan 2015. I chose not to take our place as I started maternity leave the same time so would rather have my daughter home with me to give her chance to bond with the baby too and not feel pushed out being sent off as the new baby came. She's due to start mainstream nursery anyway in thr January but have been offered a place for her in September term which I have chosen to take as I think a school/nursery setting will be good for her social skills. She's already clever and knows her colours, shapes, animals, etc etc but feel she would benefit playing with children her own age. I don't think 2 is too young as feel it will bring on her social and development skills.

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