7 August 2017

Families are set to benefit enormously from the new 30 free hours of childcare scheme, as parents urge others to apply before the deadline on 31 August 2017.

Parents of three and four-year-olds, and disadvantaged two-year-olds, can currently receive 15 hours of free childcare per week, but the Government will soon double this allowance for some three and four-year-olds.

Thanks to this scheme, parents such as Stefan and Faith will be able to benefit from more quality time with their families, as well as huge financial savings.

Stefan Cubitt, from Norton, dad to Dotty, aged three, and Betty, aged five, said: “The introduction of 30 hours free childcare will be huge for us. We are a working family, I work full time and my wife works four days per week. We are constantly trying to juggle working and caring for our girls.

“The new 30 hours of childcare will help us financially by bringing the costs of our childcare down significantly during term time.   We might even have a bit more money to spend on doing things together as a family with the money we saved.

“We have three different places that we send the kids for childcare, a childminder, nursery and preschool.  Once we got our code we gave this to each of them and they have done the rest. I would urge any working parents to apply and make sure they are getting help with their childcare costs.”

Faith Nicholson, 29, from Hillsborough, mum to Alfred, age 3, said: “It will be life changing. At the moment I work 45 to 50 hours a week as a restaurant manager to pay for my son’s three days at nursery.  Working such long hours means that is hard to find the time to spend time with my son. Thirty free hours of childcare means that I will be able to significantly cut back on my working hours and am able to spend some quality time with my family.”

From September 2017, if parents work at least 16 hours a week, they could get up to 30 hours of free childcare per week. To access the additional hours – for the term beginning this September – they must apply before the end of August.

The scheme aims to support children’s development, ensure children are ready for school and help parents manage childcare costs and working patterns.

Research by the Department for Education shows that good quality early education has lasting positive effects on children by helping their speech and language development; literacy and numeracy; social development; and readiness for school.

The research also shows that the effect of attending any pre-school is the equivalent to achieving seven higher grades at GCSE and it is especially beneficial for the most disadvantaged children.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, said: “Faith and Stefan are great examples of the benefits free childcare can provide.

“Not only does it support children’s development, but it also gives parents more time for themselves, reducing stress and enabling them to work or work more hours.

“Sheffield has many fantastic childcare places and we would encourage anyone who may be eligible to give their child the best start in life by registering before 31 August.”

To check eligibility and to apply for 30 hours free childcare, please visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/30-hours-free-childcare-eligibility