The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today confirmed the three locations for his Early Years Hubs scheme, which aims to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds fulfil their potential. He announced that the Hubs will be set up in Newham, Wandsworth & Merton and Barnet later this month as he reiterated his commitment to improving early years education across the capital. The Mayor is delivering on his pledge to improve access to high-quality, affordable early years education for the most disadvantaged families in London.
Last year only 58 per cent of eligible two-year-olds took up a free early education place in London, compared with 71 per cent nationally. High-quality early education sets children up to thrive at school and beyond, and the new Hubs are being launched in areas where take-up of the free places is lower than the London average.
By the age of five, children eligible for free school meals are almost three months behind their peers in terms of their attainment at school3. By bringing together schools, childminders and nurseries, the Hubs will help ensure more children are ready to thrive when they start school. Early Years Hubs will also boost the take-up of early years education and childcare support entitlements, and enable more parents to seek work.
These organisations will work together over a three-year period, supporting quality early years practice and engaging with families to improve access for the most disadvantaged. They may also provide childcare out of normal working hours and support children with special educational needs and disabilities, as well as promoting careers in early-years education.
City Hall will provide funding of £175,000 for each Hub as well as a toolkit to share learning across the capital.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Every child in London deserves the best start in life and should be able to benefit from all the opportunities our great city has to offer. Too often, in early years education, it is the most disadvantaged children who miss out.
“That’s why I want to improve both the quality and access to early years provision for all children. Through these Early Years Hubs, and by working with our partners across London, we can ensure that no child is left behind and that all families have the support they need for their children to thrive.”
The Mayor has already announced a number of schemes to help families. With the soaring cost of childcare in the capital preventing parents from starting a new job or returning to work, Sadiq Khan introduced a new childcare deposit loan across all organisations in the Greater London Authority (GLA) family last year, giving parents a helping hand to get back to work, and is calling on employers across the capital to do the same.
He has also proposed a compact with employers, called the Good Work Standard – this will encourage employers across London to offer family-friendly working practices like flexible working and fair pay.