More than half a million pounds has been secured from the government to give young children in disadvantaged parts of the county a better start in life.

And more than £250,000 of that will be spent in nurseries across East Lancashire.

The funding, which comes from the Department of Education's Early Years Professional Development Fund, will provide extra training and development for early years staff working in nursery settings, ensuring they are well-equipped to help children acquire basic speech, language and numeracy skills.

The money will be divided between four partnerships in Lancashire, including nursery providers in Burnley, and Nelson and Brierfield, with each area receiving an equal share of the £500,000 grant.

Lancashire County Council aim to use the funding to drive up standards in pre-school education, enabling more children to start school with the basics in place to be able to make the most of primary school.

Lancashire County Council cabinet member for children, young people and schools, councillor Phillippa Williamson, said: "We're very pleased to have secured this extra government funding.

"This work will enable us to help to drive up standards in the pre-school years, so more children arrive at school with the foundations in place to make the most of primary school."

The fund will also allow nursery staff to attend training programmes and access a range of professional development to increase their skills and knowledge of teaching early language, literacy and numeracy to children from two to four years of age.

To deliver the programme in Lancashire, four partnerships have been established, with up to 15 early years nursery providers benefitting in each area.

The four partnerships are Burnley Central and Burnley North, Fleetwood, Nelson and Brierfield, and Preston East and Preston Central.

Each nursery provider will receive funding for three professionals to attend the training programme with up to 180 practitioners, including 90 from East Lancashire, benefitting.

Cllr Williamson added: "Making sure that children finish reception with the expected skills in early communication and reading is hugely important to us."

The initiative is ongoing and will be delivered over two academic years.

It forms part of a wider Early Years Strategy, which aims to give children and families the best start in life so that all children can begin school ready to thrive.