More areas across Flintshire are set to pilot the Welsh Government’s new ‘ground-breaking’ childcare offer, Children’s Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies announced today.
The offer provides 30 hours of early education and childcare to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds for 48 weeks of the year.
In September this year, the Welsh Government began piloting the offer in Flintshire, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Swansea.
So far in Flintshire Buckley, Bagillt and Broughton have tested the offer as have parts of Aston, Connah’s Quay (Central and Golftyn), Garden City, Greenfield, Higher Shotton, Holywell (Central), Mancot, Queensferry and Sandycroft.
As part of the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget 2018/19, the funding to support the childcare offer increases to £25m in 2018-19, and to £45m in 2019-20.
This increase in funding will allow the Welsh Government to expand and test aspects of the delivery of the offer in some additional local authorities from September 2018 onwards.
‘Learning from the pilot local authority areas is important in helping to fine-tune policies and systems to make sure the offer works for parents and providers alike and preparing local authorities prior to a wider roll-out.’ Mr Irranca-Davies says.
In addition, earlier today, the Minister set out the Welsh Government’s plans to develop and grow the childcare sector to help deliver the childcare offer.
The offer of free childcare has now been extended to wards of Connah’s Quay South, Connah’s Quay, Wepre, Flint Castle, Flint Coleshill, Flint Oakenholt, Flint Trelawny, Holywell East, Holywell West, Saltney Mold.
From January 2018 the offer will further extended to Hope, Caergwrle and Higher Kinnerton.
Announcing the expansion, Huw Irranca-Davies said:
“In September 2017, we began delivery of our groundbreaking and ambitious Childcare Offer in seven early implementer local authorities across Wales, ready for full roll-out across Wales by the end of this Assembly term.
“I’m really pleased with the strong interest the offer has received from parents so far.
Parents are already telling us it’s making a difference to their lives, reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours.
“I’m delighted to announce that I’ve given the go-ahead for the pilots to be expanded into new areas across Wales.”