Government selects 16 councils to develop wraparound childcare plans benefiting primary school parents. Rollout expected from next summer. Learn more!
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To support working families in England, the government has chosen 16 councils to develop plans for providing wraparound childcare to parents of primary school-aged children.
The scheme aims to offer accessible childcare services in local areas from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that the program’s rollout will commence next summer.
Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, believes these plans will have a transformative impact on working families.
Financial Support for Councils and Timeline for Implementation
The DfE has allocated £289 million in funding to all councils in England to deliver this childcare provision, which they will receive starting from January 2024.
Some of the selected local authority areas, among the 16 panels, will be the first to introduce wraparound care next summer.
At the same time, the program will gradually expand to include more councils from September 2024.
Council Representatives Express Support
Laura Mayes, the children’s services lead at Wiltshire Council, one of the councils chosen to pilot the wraparound childcare program, expressed her satisfaction with the council’s involvement in the pilot scheme.
Mayes highlighted the council’s existing collaborations with schools, out-of-school clubs, and early years providers, emphasizing the importance of reliable childcare for families.
Future Funding and Consultation Plans
During the Spring Budget announcement earlier this year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stated that the government would ensure all schools in England offer wraparound care by September 2026.
He also mentioned that additional funding would be available to childcare providers starting from 2024/25. The DfE plans to launch a consultation to determine how this funding will be distributed.
Expanding Childcare Support for Younger Children
In the same budget announcement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed plans to extend the current scheme, which offers some families 30 free hours of childcare per week and cover younger children.
According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, this expansion could enable 60,000 more parents of young children to enter the workforce.
Mixed Opinions on the Impact of the Changes
While the government’s plans have been met with optimism, Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies expressed doubts about how these changes would make a significant difference.
List of the 16 Selected Councils
The following councils have been chosen to develop the wraparound childcare plans:
- Blackburn with Darwen
- Central Bedfordshire