Alliance responds to LSE study on access to funded early education

Responding to a new LSE study which found that free early education is disproportionately benefitting children from higher income families, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“Despite the government continuing to stress the need to improve social mobility, here we have yet more evidence that the so-called free entitlement schemes in this country disproportionately benefit more-well-off families.

"Add to this the fact that such schemes exclude the most disadvantaged families altogether while being open to couples earning up to £200,000 between them, and that sustained underfunding has led many childcare providers to rely on additional charges, meaning that often parents aren't able to access genuinely 'free' hours, and it's clear that the government is at risk of embedding inequality into the heart of its flagship policy.

"If ministers are genuinely committed to closing the gap between more disadvantaged children and their peers, then they need to look again at 'free' childcare, and ensure both that the scheme is properly funded, now and in the future, and that those families who would benefit most from increased access to quality childcare aren't missing out.”

For further information or to interview, Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, please contact:

Deri Jones

Pre-school Learning Alliance

T: 020 7697 2598



Notes for editors

  • The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  • Through direct provision and its membership of 14,000 nurseries, sessional pre-schools and parent and toddler groups, the Alliance supports over 800,000 children and their families in England. The Alliance also develops and runs family learning programmes, offers information and advice, runs acclaimed training and accreditation programmes and campaigns to influence early years policy and practice.
  • For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website: