More free childcare places available


Parents of young children in areas piloting the forthcoming increase in free childcare hours may benefit from a jump in the number of places available.

Despite concerns over funding and availability, seven of the eight regions trialling the 30 hour provision due to be launched later this year have increased the total number of places on offer since the pilot began in September.

There has been an average increase of six per cent, Ofsted reports, in contrast to a national average increase in childcare places of just one per cent.

York saw the sharpest jump, with the number of places available increasing by 14 per cent. But the National Day Nurseries Association said childcare providers in the medieval city had only been able to increase provision by charging parents for meals and other add-on services.

Chief executive Purnima Tanuku explained:

“[York] has been a success because providers have approached the pilot in a positive way and been allowed to be flexible in the way they operate. We know through our network of members in York that nearly all nurseries there have moved to a model where they charge for meals and additional services. This is the only way they can offer 30 funded hours and remain sustainable due to the inadequate hourly rate they are given.”

Read more here.

Photo of York by Magnus Hagdorn via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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