All the evidence shows that if children start behind at school, they are far more likely to stay behind their entire life. A child who performs in the bottom 20% at just 5 years old has vastly different life chances than someone who performs in the top 20%.
This is a situation that is completely unacceptable. We need to build a fairer society, where everyone has the opportunity to get on in life. Liberal Democrats believe that a child’s success should be dependent on their own ability, not what their parents do or where they happen to live.
That is why I welcome the £245,696 that Liberal Democrats in Government have helped deliver to schools, nurseries and child minders across Calderdale.
The Early Years Pupil Premium might not sound exciting, but it is delivering £50m across the country to help the most disadvantaged children at the beginning of their lives, and has been backed by charities like Barnardo’s, 4Children and the Child Poverty Action Group.
This builds on the other excellent work that Liberal Democrats are doing in Government to support children in the very early years, such as increasing the amount of free childcare for all three and four year olds, and introducing free childcare for disadvantaged two year olds as well.
But we want to go further. If Liberal Democrats are in Government in the next Parliament, then we would provide free childcare for all two year olds, and aim to increase the amount of free childcare for all two, three and four year olds again – to 20 hours by 2020. We would also double the value of the EYPP.
We can only build a stronger economy and a fairer society by making sure that every person has the opportunity to get on in their life. This money will help level the playing field so that children are not left behind and I look forward to seeing how providers across Calderdale will use it.
I’d be delighted to go and visit early years providers to see how they are planning to use the EYPP in future.
Alisdair Calder McGregor
Lib Dem candidate for the Calder Valley