NINETY two-year-olds from the most disadvantaged families around Cheshire West and Chester are to be offered free early education.
The council’s executive has given its backing to the scheme which will start in September and continue to March 2011.
The national roll-out follows pilot schemes involving 32 local authorities which have involved the provision of early education and child care to the most disadvantaged two year olds and their families, according to a report.
The initiative will cover about one in six of disadvantaged two-year-olds in the borough, which covers Chester, Ellesmere Port & Neston and Vale Royal.
The guidelines will focus on economically deprived families and on aspects such as children with speech and language needs and families with three or more children under five, teenage and lone parents and parents with health problems or disabilities.
The scheme will provide at least 10 hours of child care a week.
Families will also be helped to find support for issues such as skills training and benefits advice.
“The project will help the authority to improve the educational attainment of the most disadvantaged two year olds in the borough with good quality early education,” said Cllr Arthur Harada, (Con, Overleigh) executive member for children’s services.
“Research has shown that early access to good quality education can have marked benefits for children’s outcomes.”
The council points out that as the children become three they will automatically become eligible to free early years education entitlement.
Places will normally only be provided in child care settings rated “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted.