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Lifeline for Madrid parents: nursery school grants for anyone earning less than €25,000
PARENTS in the Madrid region are about to get some much-needed help with nursery school costs thanks to a €36 million investment and a reduction of 5% in fees.
Some 32,700 children will benefit from the fund injection, which all families with a per-head gross income of less than €25,000 can apply for.
This is the majority of the workforce, and means an extra 1,700 children from birth to three years old may be entitled to Kindergarten places their parents could not otherwise afford.
The grants are available for the September 2017-June 2018 year, and will help out 6.8% more households than the current year.
Regional government president Cristina Cifuentes has increased the deadline for applications from 15 to 20 days.
These nursery school grants are part of a package of education funds aimed at the average Madrid family and which, during the current academic year, have benefited 491,000 pupils.
They cover financial help towards the cost of school lunches, school buses and vocational or professional training for school-leavers, as well as a 'second opportunity' system for young, unemployed adults to enable them to go back to college and get their ESO – Spain's answer to GCSEs – or mature-student access courses to vocational qualifications.
A textbook-lending scheme has also been set up to save parents the high costs of buying brand-new books at the start of every school year, an expense which typically sets families back by around €200 per child.
In total, Cifuentes' government will spend around €94m on education from babyhood to post-18 this year as part of its plan for promoting equal opportunities for everyone – a total of €5m more than in 2016.
It is hoped other regions will take the lead from Madrid and offer similar assistance to average-income families to help with childcare and schooling costs.
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