Sunderland MP welcomes cash to help children from low-income families

Sharon Hodgson MP
Sharon Hodgson MP
Have your say

PLANS to target cash at young children from low income famillies has been welcomed.

The Government has pledged £50million for three and four-year-olds from deprived families through the Early Years Pupil Premium.

The scheme is worth more than £300 per child and aims to narrow the attainment gap between young children from poorer households and their more affluent peers.

Coun Pat Smith, portfolio holder for children’s services with Sunderland City Council, said: “We are committed to help provide every child in our city with the best possible start in life.

“These additional resources will allow all settings that have three and four-year-olds, to support those children with particular needs to help prepare them for school at five.”

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said although extra cash is good news, not enough is being done to help disadvantaged youngsters.

She said: “The Government’s announcement to support low-income parents in the North East to prepare their children for school is welcome. But the Government has failed to deliver on its commitment to additional support for parents of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds.

“Labour understands the urgency in addressing the attainment gap by offering high-quality and affordable childcare. This is why we have announced if we form the next Government an extension of free childcare provision for three and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours per week for working families and a primary childcare guarantee to help families manage work and care responsibilities.”

Through the new Early Years Pupil Premium, Sunderland is set to get £332,588 to help 1,155 youngsters, Durham, £553,151 for 1,920 pupils, and South Tyneside, £165,180 for 573 children.

According to research, children from low-income families are estimated to be 19 months behind more advantaged peers when they start school, but high quality early education can close this gap and improve results later on in life.