Posted: Thu 23rd Mar 2017

Broughton, Buckley and Bagillt chosen by Welsh Government to pilot its free childcare offer

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 23rd, 2017

The Welsh Government’s free childcare offer for Wales will be piloted in three Flintshire towns and villages, it was announced today.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children Carl Sargeant, updated Assembly Members on progress. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Since November, Mr Sargeant’s officials have been working closely with the six local authorities who will be testing the offer as early implementers from September 2017. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They are Anglesey and Gwynedd who will working jointly, Blaenau Gwent, Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Swansea. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Work has focused on establishing the specific areas within those local authorities where the offer will be available, the number of eligible children within each authority, and the likely cost of delivering the offer in these areas. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Having considered the numbers of children to be included within these six local authorities, Mr Sargeant has invited Caerphilly as an additional local authority to participate from September. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Flintshire will test the offer in specified areas of Buckley, Bagillt and Broughton. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This will allow testing of the offer in areas of low and high employment, across travel to work routes including travel outside Wales, and through a mixture of maintained and non-maintained settings. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They will test provider capacity and the demand for childcare along with fit with the Foundation Phase and Welsh medium provision. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

30 hours a week

The pilot will see the Government expand its offer for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds up to a maximum of up to 30 hours a week of free early education and childcare for 48 weeks of the year. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Welsh Government will spend £10 million in 2017-18 to take forward the development of the offer. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The vast majority of the funding will be allocated to the local authorities to pay for government-funded childcare during early implementation. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant said:

I have been pleased with the enthusiasm and flexibility shown by these early implementer local authorities to date and impressed with their local knowledge and understanding of the childcare sector. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Having considered the numbers of children to be included in the offer within the initial six local authorities, I have been able to invite Caerphilly as an additional early implementer from September. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

These local authorities have engaged with parents and providers, as have we through our #TalkChildcare campaign. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The messages the early implementers are hearing are very similar to the ones I am hearing around cost, access, flexibility, choice, and the logistical challenge of trying to balance childcare and work. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

I have been clear from the start that our childcare offer must work for parents: they must have choice and flexibility. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It must work for providers so they can maintain quality and help foster our children’s development in safe and successful environments. I have now agreed that the seven local authorities involved will test different things in different places ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Flintshire County Council one of six Local Authorities chosen by the Welsh Government to run free Childcare pilot. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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