Childcare providers challenged to expand their hours

Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan  Photo by Tony Johnson
Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan Photo by Tony Johnson
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CHILDCARE providers are being asked to come forward to be the first in the country to offer 30 hours of free childcare a week.

The move to double the provision is being rolled out to parents in September 2016 – a year earlier than planned.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is asking childcare providers and councils to come forward with ideas of how they would deliver the new offer. She is also asking parents across the country how the extra hours will help them.

New figures show that the vast majority of working parents – more than 80 per cent – would take up the extended offer of free childcare for three and four-year-olds if it were available now.

Ms Morgan, who will be speaking to Rolls-Royce employees today about how the new offer could work for them, said: “For too long, rising childcare costs have been a barrier to working parents, and particularly mothers.

“This One Nation Government is on the side of hard-working people – that is why this time next year we’ll see the first families benefit from the Government’s offer of 30 hours of free childcare for working parents.

“Today, we’re calling on providers to tell us how they can offer innovative, high-quality childcare that helps parents return to work while keeping more of their hard-earned money in their back pocket.”

The Government is also reaching out to parents and employers to hear how plans to double the number of free hours for three and four-year-olds will take pressure off household budgets.

In order to find out how the plans will affect households, the Department for Education has joined forces with Facebook to reach as many parents as possible, and in particular those who would not normally respond to a Government survey.