COLUMN: County well prepared for 30 hours free childcare

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We have been working hard for working parents to ensure they have been prepared for extended childcare provision in Nottinghamshire.

We have supported parents to check their availability for 30 hours of weekly childcare provision – which came in at the start of September – and also provided business support and advice for local childcare providers.

As a result, we are in the top ten of local authorities across England where parents have received their eligibility code and had it validated. In Nottinghamshire, a total of 3,829 have received their eligibility code and 79 per cent have had their code validated by a local childcare provider.

While there have been glitches with the national application process, Nottinghamshire is currently ranked eigth in the list of all local authorities for parents and carers who have received their code and had it validated.

And a survey of more than 850 parents and carers in the county has shown the majority will be taking up the increased hours of free childcare.

The survey found 95 per cent of families say they will take up the 30 hours free childcare, while 63 families said they would increase their hours of work, or look for additional work if their child qualifies for 30 free hours.

Nottinghamshire also has an excellent provision of Ofsted registered childcare providers providing a lot of choice and quality childcare for parents and carers.

We have been prepared for the introduction of the extended childcare provision for many months, supporting parents, carers and providers about the changes by sharing and promoting information. Information has been shared with children’s centres, libraries and primary schools.

The county council has done face-to-face business support workshops with providers and will continue to provide such support for early years providers who may be hesitant to offer 30 hours places for eligible three and four year olds, and will continue to engage with parents and carers.