CHILDREN celebrating their third birthday this spring and summer should be signed up now for 30 hours’ funded childcare.
Places are available from September 1 for children who celebrate their third birthday between April 1 and August 31 2018.
But to claim the funding parents must register at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk .
Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It’s only a few weeks now until the summer holidays and parents will be rushed off their feet, so it makes sense to get things sorted now in plenty of time.”
Thousands of parents have already taken up the 30 hours’ funded childcare offer for their three and four-year-olds, as Staffordshire was one of the first areas in the country to successfully introduce the scheme.
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. Places are also available for children who are already three or four years old, but haven’t yet been registered.
Once parents have an eligibility code from the website they must contact their preferred childcare provider to make arrangements.
Mark Sutton said: “Staffordshire was one of the first places in the country to roll out this scheme and it has helped so many parents so much already.
“Having 30 hours of childcare funded every week makes a huge difference to families: it either puts money back in their pockets, allows people to go out and work extra hours, or simply changes their work life balance so couples can be at home at the same time, rather than working opposite shifts.”
Part of the county council’s role has been to liaise with a variety of childcare providers across the county to encourage growth, where necessary, to meet anticipated demand from rising birthrates and people moving to the county to live and work.
Mark Sutton said: “In Staffordshire 96 per cent of pre-school places are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, so parents can be confident this scheme helps them and helps their child get the best possible start before going to school.”