Government pledges £5m to create more childcare places in ‘social mobility coldspot’ of Ipswich

The pre-school has been awarded a Good rating. File picture: STEVE ADAMS

The pre-school has been awarded a Good rating. File picture: STEVE ADAMS - Credit: Steve Adams

Two new pre-schools are set to be created in Ipswich this year after the Government pledged £5million for creating more childcare places for “social mobility coldspots”.

The Department for Education yesterday announced a £5m boost was being given to 12 areas across the country where social mobility was an issue, with Ipswich among those to secure funding.

As part of those plans, Suffolk County Council confirmed that £835,000 had been contributed by the DfE to establish two new pre-schools in Ipswich and expand a third, creating 120 places.

Sue Cook, director for children and young people at Suffolk County Council said: “We are thrilled that additional funding has been granted by the Department for Education to support the development of three pre-schools across Ipswich.

“This follows the announcement in January that funding will be provided for two new pre-schools in Lavenham and Stowmarket.

“This will provide much-needed extra provision and support for early years providers in Suffolk, ahead of the 30 hour free childcare offer for working parents of three and four year olds, which will be implemented from September.”

A 48-place pre-school will be created in refurbished buildings at YMCA Childcare in Wellington Street, while another 48 places will be created by expanding the Little Learners within Landseer Play Centre in Hogarth Road,

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A new Buzzbee Babes pre-school in Dale Hall Lane at the site of Dale Hall Primary School will create 24 places. All three are expected to open between by November this year.

Ipswich, Red Lodge and Lakenehath are three key areas identified by the county council as having a shortfall of places over the last two years.

A county council education spokeswoman added: “Suffolk County Council carried out an assessment of available places across the county, and in particular in Ipswich, identified a need to increase local childcare provision from September 2017, in light of the new offer of 30 hours free childcare for working parents.”

Currently parents can get 15 hours free childcare per week from the term after their child turns three right up until they start school. From September eligible working parents will qualify for 30 hours per week during term time.