CHILDREN celebrating their third birthday this autumn should be signed up now for 30 hours’ supported childcare.
Families of almost 4,000 children in Staffordshire took up the offer of 30 hours’ supported childcare for three and four-year-olds when the scheme launched nationally in September.
Now, more childcare places are available from January 1 for children who celebrate their third birthday between September 1 and December 31 2017.
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: “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 changes their work life balance.”
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 December 31.
Mark Sutton said: “At this time of year parents just get busier and busier as it approaches the festive season so I would urge them to register now and then take the code to a childcare provider straight away so everything is sorted for the New Year.”
The 30 hours scheme was rolled out nationally after being trialled in Staffordshire in 2016/17.
Latest figures show that the families of 3,909 children took up the 30 hours’ offer in the county, equating to 4.456 million hours of childcare a year.
Mark Sutton added: “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.”