ROOMS in four Bolton Council children’s centres will be rented out to private nurseries — to provide free places for two-year-olds.
As reported in The Bolton News last month, a cash injection of £5 million will mean 40 per cent of two-year-olds in Bolton should be offered free early years education from September.
But this means more nursery places are needed in Bolton — a figure rising from 855 to more than double at 2,140.
To provide the additional places, private nursery providers will move into former Sure Start Centres — now known as children’s centres.
A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We’re pleased to offer free early years education places to two-year-olds from low income families as they often miss out on some educational experiences other children benefit from, as their parents cannot afford to put them into childcare.
"As part of our plans to provide these places, we are looking at which of our children’s centres could be used by private nursery providers to offer this education.”
The council has already advertised two children’s centres to nursery providers – Harwood Youth Centre and Bright Meadows.
Another two centres will also be advertised in this initiative.
Town hall chiefs expect there will be enough places for 75 per cent of eligible children in September — with enough places for all in January.
Children who take up the free entitlement will receive 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year.
Families who qualify have to be on certain benefits, income which is not over £16,190, or youngsters have to be classed as looked after children.
Free entitlement for all three and four-year-olds is already available.
Council funding cuts recently has led to children’s centres in Bolton being streamlined to provide essential services to those in need.