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Barnardo's and Action for Children have lost their contracts to run seven children's centres in Leicester in a council bid to save 1.7m a year.

Proposals to make childcare more affordable and increase the provision of out-of-school childcare in schools have been set out today.

The eligibility criteria for Teach First are currently being reviewed following complaints that applicants with early years degrees were unable to apply for the scheme.

Thousands of early years and childcare workers are currently unable to undertake a Level 5 qualification in childcare because there is no Government funding available to them.

More than a third of nurseries in England that are not currently involved in offering funded places for two-year-olds say that they are unlikely or unsure about getting involved in the future.

Some providers fear that the existing levels of funding they receive through local authorities for the two-year-old entitlement will reduce when the programme expands beyond 2014.

A total of 2m will be available through a new scheme in the run-up to the Early Years Educator qualification.

Ministers plan to change the way that nurseries and childminders are funded through local authorities, in a move towards developing a new national funding formula for free early education places.

The Old Station Nursery's Henley-on-Thames setting will reduce the cost of childcare from April, which could mean a saving for parents with a child on a part-time place of up to 2,730 a year.

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