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New areas to pilot Welsh Government’s free childcare offer

More areas across Wales are set to pilot the Welsh Government’s new ground-breaking childcare offer, Children’s Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies announced today.
Friday 15 December 2017

When rolled out across Wales, the offer will provide 30 hours of early education and childcare to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds for 48 weeks of the year.

In September this year, the Welsh Government began piloting the offer in Anglesey, Gwynedd, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Swansea. The offer is available in specific areas of these local authorities, and across the whole of Blaenau Gwent, enabling the government to test a range of aspects and issues impacting delivery and take-up. 

As part of the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget 2018/19, the funding to support the childcare offer increases to £25m in 2018-19, and to £45m in 2019-20. This increase in funding will allow the Welsh Government to expand and test aspects of the delivery of the offer in some additional local authorities from September 2018 onwards.  

Learning from the pilot local authority areas is important in helping to fine-tune policies and systems to make sure the offer works for parents and providers alike and preparing local authorities prior to a wider roll-out.  

In addition, earlier today, the Minister set out the Welsh Government’s plans to develop and grow the childcare sector to help deliver the childcare offer.

Announcing the expansion, Huw Irranca-Davies said:

“In September 2017, we began delivery of our groundbreaking and ambitious Childcare Offer in seven early implementer local authorities across Wales, ready for full roll-out across Wales by the end of this Assembly term.

“I’m really pleased with the strong interest the offer has received from parents so far. Parents are already telling us it’s making a difference to their lives, reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours.

“I’m delighted to announce that I’ve given the go-ahead for the pilots to be expanded into new areas across Wales.”

The Minister added:

“I am very grateful to the early implementer local authorities for their hard work to date.  They have worked with us to develop and deliver the policy, including the eligibility criteria for parents, the application process, and the payment methods for childcare providers.  

“I would also like to thank the childcare sector for their support including the positive way they have worked with us to ensure there is a good awareness of the childcare offer and the feedback on their experience so far of delivering the offer. The second phase of our successful #TalkChildcare campaign is about engaging further with childcare providers, through online questionnaires, focus groups and direct consultation.

“I look forward to continued joint working as we expand and deliver this offer to parents and children across Wales.”

The Welsh Government has confirmed the offer is now being expanded to include the following areas:

From December 2017

  • Flintshire: Wards of Connah’s Quay South, Connah’s Quay, Wepre, Fllint Castle, Flint Coleshill, Flint Oakenholt, Flint Trelawny, Holywell East, Holywell West, Saltney Mold;
  • Gwynedd: The well-being area of Caernarfon. Includes following wards;  Bethel, Bontnewydd, Cadnant, Clwt y Bont, Cwm y Glo, Deiniolen, Groeslon, Llanberis, Llandwrog, Llanllyfni , Llanrug, Llanwnda, Menai (Caernarfon), Peblig (Caernarfon), Penisa’r waun, Pen-y-groes, Seiont , Talysarn, Waunfawr, Clynnog.
From January 2018
  • Anglesey: Valley 2, Trearddur 1 and 2, Llanfihangel Esceifiog, Brynteg, Llanbedrgoch, Pentraeth, Amlwch rural, Bodorgan, Llanfair yn Neubwll 1 and 2, Aberffraw and Rhosneigr 1, Parc ar Mynydd, Llaneilian, Moelfre, Llanfaethlu, Mechell;
  • Gwynedd: Well-being area of Penllyn, which includes Bala, Llandderfel, and Llanuwchllyn;
  • Caerphilly: Wellbeing Area of Caerphilly Basin wards: Aber Valley; Bedwas; Trethomas; Machen; Llanbradach; Morgan Jones; Penyrheol; St James; and St Martins; Lower Islwyn, wards: Abercarn; Crosskeys; Risca East; Risca West; and Ynysddu;
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf: Wards of Ynyshir and Pontyclun;
  • Flintshire: Wards of Hope,  Caergwrle and  Higher Kinnerton;
  • Swansea: The wards of Gowerton; Penllergaer; Llansamlet; Penderry; Kingsbridge; Upper Loughor; Lower Loughor; Penyrheol; and Cockett (Subject to any call-in of the Cabinet decision)
Currently the offer is being piloted in:
  • Anglesey is testing in Menai Bridge, Llandegfan, Llanfairpwll, Beaumaris and Llangoed; the villages of Niwbwrch, Dwyran, Brynsiencyn, Llangaffo, Llanddaniel and Llanedwen; and the town of Llangefni and Talwrn. 
  • Gwynedd is testing in the well-being area of Bangor which includes Bethesda; the well-being area of Porthmadog which also includes Criccieth, Penrhyndeudraeth, Harlech and Garndolbenmaen; the well-being area of Ffestiniog which includes areas down to Trawsfynydd; and the well-being area of Dolgellau which includes the area around Barmouth, Corris, Dinas Mawddwy, Dyffryn Ardudwy and Llanbedr. From January 2018, the well-being  area of Caernarfon which includes Bethel, Cwm y Glo, Bontnewydd, Deiniolen, Llanberis, Groeslon, Llanllyfni, Clynnog, Llanrug, Llanwnda, Penisarwaen, Penygroes, Talysarn and Waunfawr will also be testing the offer.
  • Blaenau Gwent will implement the offer across the whole local authority
  • Caerphilly is testing the offer in the Mid-Valleys East region which incorporates urban areas such as Blackwood, Newbridge and Crumlin as well as a number of smaller communities. 
  • Flintshire is testing the offer in Buckley, Bagillt and Broughton, and within areas of Aston, Connahs Quay (Central and Golftyn), Garden City, Greenfield, Higher Shotton, Holywell (Central), Mancot, Queensferry and Sandycroft. 
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf is currently testing the offer in four school catchment areas spread across the three valleys and one Welsh-medium catchment area to ensure an even spread across the authority.  These are Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun, Bryncelynnog, Ferndale and Mountain Ash school catchments.  
  • Swansea is testing the offer in wards spread across the city including Dunvant, Penclawdd, Llangyfelach, West Cross, Morriston, Pontarddulais and Gorseinon.  
 

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