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Creating additional places for two-year-olds in some areas is proving more challenging than in others. James Hempsall describes how one centre has set up a mini-bus service to bring children in from areas where places are full.

Understanding a child's background and family circumstances is key to providing effective provision, says James Hempsall.

Providers who have already delivered free places for two-year-olds have learned many lessons, and could have a key role in supporting others to do so.

The extension of the free entitlement to around 40 per cent of all two-year-olds from 2014 will need a significant increase in the number of places so that approximately 260,000 children will be able to benefit. James Hempsall urges childcare providers across all sectors to look at the opportunities this will bring

It has been estimated that 65 per cent of the two-year-olds accessing their free entitlement in the future will represent new business.

Local authorities will be funding 130,000 places for the 20 per cent least advantaged two-year-olds in 2013-2014, rising to 260,000 the year after. If providers across the private, voluntary, independent, schools and childminding sectors are to achieve these new targets, we may need to think beyond existing models of delivery, says James Hempsall.

Providing new places for two-year-olds does not always have to involve huge or even any capital investment.

A nursery in Poole has helped all its two-year-olds to settle happily in by working with parents and emphasising key messages to do with their children's learning and well-being. One of these is that young children need their parents' time more than anything else, says James Hempsall.

Working closely with parents to support home learning is every bit as important for two-year-olds as it is for older children. Here James Hempsall outlines how one pre-school has developed a structured approach to gaining parents' trust and support.

James Hempsall outlines how one nursery has seized the opportunity to develop its key worker system in order to deliver an outstanding offer to its large number of twos.

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