Wirral’s working parents are being asked to take part in a survey to help map the demand of families accessing childcare.
As the Government has pledged to bring in increased free childcare for working families, Wirral Council needs to understand how families are using, or plan to use childcare, to ensure enough places are available.
The council’s survey will ask parents to share if and how they may be planning to use the 15 hours of free childcare for working families of two-year-olds, announced earlier this year in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget for 2023.
The expansion to childcare is being introduced nationally on a staggered timeline, to ensure that Early Education and Childcare Providers have time to prepare for the changes and increase staff, and for local authorities to ensure there are enough places available to meet demand.
Councillor Sue Powell-Wilde, Chair of Children, Young People and Education Committee, said, “We want to make sure local families can access the extra free childcare if they want to. To help us plan ahead and ensure we have enough places in Wirral, we need families to tell us how they currently use childcare, and if they’re eligible for the additional hours how they might use them.”
According to the Government’s budget, working parents with children from nine months of age up to starting school will be eligible for 30 hours of childcare where they meet qualifying criteria*, by September 2025.
The expansion to childcare will be rolled out in three phases:
- Phase one will offer 15 hours childcare to working parents of 2-year-olds from April 2024*.
- Phase two will offer 15 hours childcare to working parents of children from 9 months of age up to age 3* from September 2024.
- Phase three will offer 30 hours of childcare to children from 9 months of age up to school age where families meet the qualifying criteria* from September 2025.
- Eligibility criteria will match the existing 3-4 year-old hours offer.
Councillor Powell-Wilde said, “I would encourage any parent who this applies to, to take five minutes – which is admittedly hard to spare with a toddler running around – to complete the survey. It will massively help us to review the childcare landscape in Wirral and plan for the future.”
All survey responses will help to determine how the use of childcare may change as the new funded hours are rolled out. This will then form part of a review of the borough’s current childcare supply and allow plans to be put in place to meet the demand for additional places, if needed. To take part in the survey, click here https://www.haveyoursay.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-funding
To check your family’s eligibility, visit: http://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk