Families urged to have their say on childcare

Families across Derbyshire are encouraged to give their views about extra free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

At present all three and four year old children across the county are entitled to up to 15 hours of free early education a week.

From September the Government is extending the amount of childcare available to some working families – by doubling it to 30 hours a week – to allow them to work extra hours if they want to.

Derbyshire County Council is keen to hear from families to gauge the demand for the extra hours so it can work with childcare providers to offer the type of care parents want.

To take part in the survey go to www.derbyshire.gov.uk/30hourssurvey

Councillor Alex Dale, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, said: “Working parents who qualify could save up to £2,280 a year which will enable them to work more hours if they want to while giving their children the opportunity to socialise and learn.

“We know that everyone's circumstances are different so we're talking to schools, childminders, nurseries and pre-schools to encourage them to offer childcare in new, more flexible ways.

“So we would like to hear from parents and carers to help us understand what they need and ensure they are being offered childcare that is right for them.”

To be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare families must meet the following criteria:

  • Both parents must be working (or the sole parent in a single parent family)
  • Each parent must earn on average at least £120 a week - equal to 16 hours at national minimum or living wage, including those on zero hours contracts
  • Each parent does not earn more than £100,000 a year

Families may still qualify where one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, adoption leave or statutory sick pay or if one is working but the other is unable to work because they are disabled or have caring responsibilities.

The extra hours are government funded and eligibility is assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Families whose children turn three on 31 August 2017 and would like to take up the additional hours in September must apply for an eligibility code before 31 August 2017 here www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

If families are eligible, children can take up a place from the start of the next full term after their third birthday.

Even if parents don’t qualify for the extra hours they will still be entitled to the universal 15 hours of free early education.

For more information about childcare in Derbyshire please contact the county council at enquiries.sufficiency(at)derbyshire.gov.uk or ring 01629 539316 or 532835.