Guernsey introduces free pre-school education

Child's hand playing with coloured wooden brick shapes on white table Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption About 120 children due to attend school in the next school year are not attending a pre-school, according to States figures

Children in Guernsey will get free access to pre-school from January 2017, according to the education department.

Three and four year-olds will be eligible for up to 15 hours of education each week during term time.

The States approved the funding for the scheme late last year and parents with a combined income below £150,000 are now able to apply.

It was funded in part through a reduction in the weekly family allowance of £2.40 per child.

Higher charges

The Guernsey Pre-School Learning Alliance warned that fees may have to increase for younger children.

In a statement it said the flat fee for three and four year olds was lower than some providers charge so it may need to be recouped by charging parents of younger children more.

It said it was also concerned that there had been no pilot scheme to iron out problems.

Education Officer and Early Years Lead Ruth Sharp said they would be listening to feedback and addressing problems as they went along.

She said: "What we have done to ensure we keep close communications with pre-school service providers is to put a review process in place.

"We didn't want to introduce a pilot scheme as it may have given a message we weren't committed to seeing the scheme through."

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