Parents set to benefit from more free child care

Published Wednesday, 1st February 2017
Family in the park
A family cycling in the park

Hard working parents and carers in Rotherham are being thrown a much needed lifeline with free child care set to increase to 30 hours a week later this year.

Rotherham Council is set to roll out the extra hours under a new scheme later this year. Parents and carers are currently entitled to 15 hours free child care for three and four-year-olds. From September this will increase to 30 hours.

Now the Council is embarking on a consultation process to find out how many families want to take up the offer, so they can ensure there is enough capacity across private and maintained settings in the borough.

The extra hours of childcare will make it easier for parents to be able to work while reducing the burden of rising childcare costs on their earnings.

The Council has a statutory obligation to secure sufficient childcare and early education places to meet the needs of parents. The funding contract to support this comes directly from the Department for Education (DfE).

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council said: “Rising childcare costs can be a barrier which prevents some parents, and particularly mothers, from working.

“We now need to make sure the places which may be needed are available and parents have access to this, should they want it. Our commitment as part of our corporate plan is to ensure we give every child the best start in life, and this begins before they even start school.”

He added the Council would also be making sure the offer for free places for vulnerable two-year-olds are still maintained at settings across the borough alongside these new free places.

“Juggling childcare and work is something which many parents and carers experience every day.

“We now just have to make sure it is delivered in the fairest way possible to families while also supporting the businesses who deliver child care services.”

The Council will now look specifically at innovative ways of making sure childcare is accessible to as many parents as possible, with the aim of removing significant barriers to parents taking up their entitlement.

All 3- and 4-year-olds are already entitled to 15 hours of free a week and this is also extended to the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds.

To take part in the consultation, click on the button below.

Take part in the Consultationimage