The amount of parents utilising free childcare for two-year-olds remains low in Leicester, with only 1,612 out of 2,661 spaces being filled.

Free childcare is available to those parents with two-year-olds who receive certain benefits; it means that the children can attend a nursery, childminder’s or other childcare provider for up to 15 hours a week in term-time.

A local report states that Leicester’s 0-5 strategy is underperforming across several areas, including the take-up of funded early years education.

The report also indicates that school readiness is low, meaning that children are starting school without the expected skills required by the institutions.

Councillor Sarah Russell has said: “School readiness is defined in a number of different ways. For me, it’s about a child being able to go to the toilet independently, dress themselves, sit in a group. Being ready to do this by the time they start school enables the teacher to get on with the teaching.”

She also outlines that the council are doing their best to support struggling families to ensure that their children get the best start to their education.

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