Flintshire County Council one of six Local Authorities chosen by the Welsh Government to run free Childcare pilot.
Flintshire County Council has been chosen as one of six councils across Wales to pilot the Welsh Government’s free childcare offer.
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.
Once the offer has been developed, it will be tested in the six local authority areas from the autumn of 2017 to make sure it works for parents and childcare providers, followed by wider roll-out.
Speaking in the Assembly, Cabinet Secretary Carl Sargeant said:
“One of the concerns working parents have raised with us time and again is the cost of childcare, and the impact that has on them, their finances and their quality of life.
“Since early summer we have been talking to parents. We’ve received feedback from more than 1,500 parents so far and we’ve held focus groups at workplaces and in communities across Wales.
While this engagement will continue through till the spring, so far it’s clear parents want childcare to be less of a drain on family income, available at times and in places which make it easier for them to work; and more accessible, with support for their children’s needs.
Testing the offer (in the six chosen counties) will allow us to make sure we learn what works and what doesn’t, building on experience and evidence to deliver for all working parents in Wales.
It makes no sense for parents to be earning less than their childcare costs, we want parents to have employment choices.”
Following the announcement today, the Leader of Flintshire County Council, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said:
“This is excellent news and I am particularly heartened to learn that Welsh Government was impressed with Flintshire’s multi-disciplinary approach, showing that people from a range of disciplines and backgrounds were committed to making a difference for families. The fact that Flintshire’s leadership was supportive from a very early stage was also important.
Once the offer has been developed, it will be tested in the six local authority areas from the autumn of 2017 to make sure it works for parents and childcare providers, followed by wider roll-out.”
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies is seeking clarity on the affordability of the scheme, he said:
“We welcome plans to extend Wales’ free childcare provision, but I am extremely concerned that not one area in Mid Wales will be involved in the pilot scheme.
Rural areas such as Powys are already faced with limited childcare options and often-patchy access to public services, so news that they have been overlooked in this decision will be received by families in these areas with no small degree of frustration.
Welsh Conservatives support increasing the amount of child care available to hardworking parents across Wales, but the Welsh Government has today failed to satisfy very serious questions posed over the affordability and capacity requirements of their proposals.”
With this in mind, the Cabinet Secretary needs to provide clarity sooner rather than later if this commitment is to be delivered in a meaningful way by the end of this Assembly term.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com