FLEXIBILTY on how to spend money on helping three and four-year-olds has been welcomed by education workers.

Nurseries will get £300 for every child of that age who is from a low income family from the new Early Years Pupil Premium.

Oxfordshire is set to receive £403,658 from the Department for Education (DfE) for the 1,300 children in that age range it deems to be from underprivileged backgrounds.

Rebecca Warner, of Little Troopers in Stanley Road, Oxford, said: “I think we will see the most impact of this in the city.”

The money was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who promised £50m nationally as part of the Early Years Pupil Premium to help “bridge the gap” between eligible young children and peers in time for the start of primary school.

DfE research shows children from low-income families are 19 months behind advantaged peers when they start school.

Oxfordshire County Council’s head of children’s services Melinda Tilley was happy the county was getting the money.

She said: “We can always do with more money to help those children in Oxfordshire from low-income families, and support the nurseries who look after them.”

The £400,000 will be given to nurseries, on a child-by-child basis, and it can be used to fund more qualified staff or specialists who can help develop basic skills like speech and language. The DfE said the nurseries would have the “freedom” to decide how it is used.