North Devon MP Nick Harvey has described plans to make more than 3,000 two-year-olds in Devon eligible for free early years education as “great news for parents and toddlers in our area.”

The plan was revealed by Lib Dem Children’s Minister Sarah Teather in addition to all three and four-year-old children in Devon, who are already eligible to receive 15 hours of free early years education per week. It would be available from September 2014.

Mr Harvey said: “Early years education, through play and stories, helps young children prepare for school. A decent early education can make a huge difference to the start of a child’s progress, unlocking their potential to help them follow their ambitions. It’s also a huge help to parents who may be struggling to juggle work commitments and having young children.”

“Thanks to Liberal Democrats, one of the Coalition Government’s main priorities is to close the attainment gap between the poorest children and their more well-off peers. By making early years education freely available to the least well-off families and giving additional money to schools whose pupils are eligible for free school meals through the Pupil Premium, we are ensuring we give our children the best start in life in a way that Labour never did.”