CHILDREN celebrating their third birthday in the first part of 2018 should be signed up now for 30 hours’ funded childcare.
Staffordshire has one of the highest rates in the region for taking up the offer of 30 hours’ funded childcare for three and four-year-olds.
Now, more childcare places are available from April 1 for children who celebrate their third birthday between January 1 and March 31 2018.
Places are also available for children who are already three or four years old, but haven’t yet been registered.
Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Staffordshire was one of the first places in the country to introduce 30 hours’ funded childcare and thousands of parents have already seen what a difference it makes to their lives.
“There are more places available from April 1, but if you’re eligible it makes sense to claim what you’re entitled to now and have it all in place as soon as possible.”
To be eligible both parents, or the parent in a single-parent family, must earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours a week at the national minimum wage, or living wage.
Parents can check if they qualify and sign up for the scheme at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk but they must do so by March 31 at the very latest.
Once parents have a registration code from the website they must then contact their preferred childcare provider to make arrangements.
In Staffordshire 96 per cent of pre-school places are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted
Mark Sutton added: “The 30 hours of funded childcare can make a huge difference to parents – it lets them go back to work or work more hours, change their work life balance, or it simply puts money back in their pockets.
“My advice is not to delay, but submit your application straight away.”