Parents to wait ‘months’ for free childcare
PARENTS in Cardiff may have to wait months longer than expected to access the full 30 hours a week childcare offer next year – which is being rolled out across Wales.
Eligible parents in Wales will be able to access 12.5 hours of earlyyears education and 17.5 hours of childcare per week, for up to 48 weeks of the year, for children aged between three and four years old.
Parents have been told the childcare will be offered from the beginning of the term following their child’s third birthday.
A Welsh Government report in June 2017 stated: “Children will receive the childcare element of the offer from the term after their third birthday until offered a fulltime education place, usually the September after their fourth birthday.”
But in Cardiff a cut-off date of March 31 is in place for applications for childcare during the summer term – which begins on April 29.
That means parents of children turning three between those dates won’t be able to access the full 30 days of childcare until September, even though the summer term begins after their birthday.
Cardiff council says it is using the approach set out in the Welsh Government guidance, aligning childcare eligibility with the start dates for nursery provision.
Welsh Government says it will be “considering the lessons” ahead of the national roll-out of the offer.
Dr Andy Skyrme, whose son, Ethan, turns three on April 12, has been told his family has to wait until September.
Father of two Dr Skyrme, who lives in Riverside, said: “It’s going to impact on our quality of life.”