Schools across Britain will reportedly be encouraged to extend opening hours to allow parents to leave toddlers there for the whole working day, and accept children as young as two.
Liz Truss, the education minister, is writing to every council in England to suggest that school nurseries should extend their opening hours, The Telegraph reports.
Ministers are also expected to float proposals to make it easier for nurseries to open their doors to two-year-olds.
Mrs Truss told The Daily Telegraph: “If you have a really high quality school nursery, children who are behind can catch up with their peers by the time they start school.”
She added: “Many parents would prefer longer days rather than five short bursts during the week. If you’re working part-time, you could have two sessions of seven and a half hours, or three sessions of five hours. It gives much more flexibility.”
The move is the latest attempt by the Government to increase access to child care after a Conservative initiative to allow nannies to look after more children was blocked by the Liberal Democrats. At present, only a relatively small number of school nurseries offer care to children under three.