The Government want to close the gaps between young children that are opening up even before they hang up their coats for their first day at school. So in the Autumn Statement today they will announce an additional £380 million a year by 2014-15 to extend free childcare.

At the Spending Review the Government committed to universal nursery education for all 3- and 4-year olds and to extending this to the most disadvantaged 2-year olds. The extra funding, totalling £650 million over the next three years, will double the number of 2-year olds covered to 260,000. This is part of the Government's approach to child poverty and social mobility, aiming to change fundamentally the prospects of children by focusing on early years service provision as a better way to improve life chances than means tested benefits.