Offering early education programmes funded by the government can go a long way in aiding the development of a country. These programmes set the foundation for the future education that a child will receive, and the UK Government realises this. The Early Years Foundation Stage has been set up for the sole purpose of offering education to young children, without any need for their parents to contribute towards the fees. However, there are certain confusions when it comes to availing this benefit. So, how do free early education programmes in the UK work? To ensure that you and your child won’t miss out on this opportunity, here is everything you need to know about such programmes.

How old do your children have to be to be entitled to these programmes?

Children who are 3 and four years of age are entitled to entering early education programmes.

What is a universal entitlement, and what is extended entitlement?

When researching these free education programmes, you might have come across the terms mentioned above.
Universal entitlement refers to 570 hours per year, divided across 38 weeks. This is offered to all children who are 3 and four years of age, along with some disadvantaged children who are two years of age.
On the other hand, extended entitlement includes children who are 3 and four years of age and having working parents that cannot offer the level of care which those children need and deserve. An additional 30 hours of nursery care per month for 38 weeks is offered to these children.

Where do these programmes take place?

Most of these programmes are carried out in schools and other educational centres. However, some also take place in daycare centres, special centres and spaces which are volunteered by registered chid-carers.

How are you eligible to extended entitlement?

As mentioned above, extended entitlement is not the same thing as a universal entitlement. As this isn’t offered to everyone, those who eligible must fit the criteria of earning within a certain bracket, which cannot exceed 100,000 pounds per year.
Other than ensuring that you meet the criteria, signing your child up for this programme is relatively easy and can be done through a website.

How is your child entitled to universal entitlement if he/she is less than 3?

This only happens for disadvantaged children who come from backgrounds that are economically challenged. These children are normally eligible if they are two years old.
To be eligible for early universal entitlement, the government will consider the monthly income and the number of individuals who are dependant on that income.

How can you go about availing these programmes?

Follow this website: https://www.gov.uk/find-free-early-education to find out where you can take your children to be part of these programmes.

Where can you go for more information?

The Early Years Foundation Stage is responsible for dealing with these programmes so you can visit their website for detailed information.

Do the citizens of the UK need these programmes?

Yes! Here are the numerous reasons why you should enrol your children in such programmes.

High-quality education for youngsters

Children who don’t have a strong educational base often struggle in their academics later on in life. However, not all parents can afford high-quality education. Through these programmes, parents can not only send their children to educational programmes but can do so without having to spend money. So, your child receives a good education, and you can save up money too!

Helps the economy

Naturally, training children at a young age can have a long-lasting effect on the economy and general betterment of the country. After all, everyone knows that our children are the ones who shape the future of our country.

Building a support system and aiding the disadvantaged

There are a number of parents who don’t have steady jobs, are unwell, or have a similar disadvantage and are raising their children on their own. These parents cannot offer the level of care to their children that they would want to provide. These educational programmes not only help children excel academically but can help them build relationships and bring stability into their lives.

The extended entitlement programme is also aimed at ensuring that children who don’t have caretakers can come to these programmes free of cost. Many parents cannot afford daycare or don’t have anywhere to keep their children, so these programmes can act as a true blessing for them.

Providing uniform education to everyone

The curriculum that has been set up by the Early Education Foundation Stage is universally applied in all centres where early education programmes are being offered. This ensures that all children who are receiving this education are on the same footing and so have equal opportunity to do better in their future lives. This is very important for those students who aren’t as privileged as others.

Acts as a guideline to parents

Parents often struggle with effectively educating their young children at home. In this competitive world, it is important to offer a certain degree of guidance. So, through these educational programmes, parents can also obtain a general idea of how to educate their child at home.

Conclusion

The conception of this programme has led to parents and children both benefitting immensely, in terms of money saved and education earned. Socially, the programmes have better social conditions and education quality so that the country will also benefit in the long run.

References

https://www.gov.uk/find-free-early-education
https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/early-childhood-education-and-care-93_en

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