Below is the text of the statement made by Nadhim Zahawi, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2019.

Today, I am announcing the allocation of just over £22 million for 66 School Nurseries Capital Fund (SNCF) projects across the country. This investment is part of our commitment to create more high quality school-based nursery provision for disadvantaged children. These innovative projects are intended to test and evaluate approaches aimed at closing the disadvantage gap, deepen our understanding of “what works” and spread best practice throughout the sector.

I am also announcing the launch of a new campaign called Hungry Little Minds to encourage parents to provide a language-rich home learning environment, which, evidence shows, is crucial for improving early outcomes. The campaign is underpinned by a behaviour change model published by the Government in November and follows the ambition set last July by the Secretary of State for Education to halve in 10 years the proportion of children who finish reception year without the expected level of development in communication, language and literacy.

These initiatives are part of our work to provide equality of opportunity for every child, regardless of background or where they live, because we know that improving support in the early years is the cornerstone of social mobility.

Details of today’s announcement are being sent to all SNCF applicants and a list of successful projects will be published on www.gov.uk. Copies will be placed in the House Library. This statement has also been made in the House of Lords.