Brother and sister reading books over a carpet. They look interested and concentrated. Visit my gallery for more images of children
There has been a huge increase in the take-up of 30 hour free childcare in Liverpool.
The latest government data shows the percentage of children aged 3 and over in the city taking up their application has risen from 70 percent to 93 percent since the summer, meaning 2,040 youngsters are benefiting.
It follows a drive by the city council to increase take-up of the entitlement, which is for working households where parents earn a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours and less than £100,000 per year.
The entitlement amounts to 1,140 hours over a year and can be used up to 30 hours a week during term time (38 weeks), or for fewer hours per week spread over more weeks of the year.
It can be used for day nurseries, nursery classes in schools, childminders, playgroups and pre-schools, but does not cover the cost of meals and trips.
Councillor Barbara Murray, Cabinet member for education, said: “There is a wealth of evidence which shows nursery education for children really helps with their development and boosts their school readiness.
“I am really pleased that the take-up has increased so much over the last few months and would urge any parent who is entitled to make sure they are taking advantage of it.
“Getting children to mix with others and learn through play is really beneficial for them, and means they are well prepared for school when they are old enough to start.”
All 3 and 4 Year old children receive the universal 15 hours free childcare, regardless of whether their parents are working.
More information about signing up is available here