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04 July 2012

Mott MacDonald and Hempsall’s support rollout of childcare places for two-year olds

Mott MacDonald with its partner Hempsall’s has been appointed by the Department for Education to support the rollout of free early education places for less advantaged two-year olds.

The government is introducing a legal requirement to secure free provision through regulations under section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006. This requires that certain two-year-olds will be entitled to 570 hours of free early education over the course of the year.

A phased approach will be undertaken by the government in the implementation of the new entitlement. Around 130,000 children (20%) will be entitled to free places from September 2013. Eligible children are expected to be those living in households which meet the criteria used for free school meals and children in care. The entitlement will then be extended to around 260,000 eligible two-year-olds from September 2014.

As part of the three-year contract, known as ‘Achieving Two Year Olds’ (A2YO), Mott MacDonald and Hempsall’s will offer support across all 152 local authorities in England with developing capacity to meet this new entitlement; improve the quality of provision so that it best meets the needs of two-year-olds and stimulate parental demand for free early education places.

Mott MacDonald’s project director Andy Guest said: “This is a high profile policy area and one of the very few being given additional funding in this parliamentary term. Mott MacDonald and Hempsall’s are looking forward to working alongside the department, local authorities and providers to support the implementation of this important programme to increase access to early education for less advantaged two-year-old children.”

James Hempsall, director of Hempsall's, and national support director for A2YO, commented on the two organisations' relationship and skills: "We have worked together for the past three years combining our specialism in supporting local authorities and providers in the early years sector and Mott MacDonald's obvious strengths in education, resources, capability and project management.”

The project is structured around the engagement and full involvement of local authorities and their providers. Self evaluation forms, a raft of regional and sub-regional events and a sharing of tools, ideas and resources are key to our approach.

"We are totally committed to ensuring resources and support are targeted to need and offer a real benefit for both local authorities and providers. The process will enable us to jointly identify needs and commission an extensive programme of support from our other partners to achieve these outcomes. Over the past 12 years the Hempsall’s team has been working directly with providers on business support, training, quality improvement, and creating new early years and childcare places. Over that time we have adopted a partnership approach with local authorities all over the country and government to deliver local, regional and national strategies,” James added.

The project is due for completion in March 2015.


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