Cheshire East is top of the North West league table for the take-up of the 30 hours’ free childcare scheme.
The government’s free early education entitlement offers 15 hours of early education for 38 weeks each year to all children aged three and four and the most disadvantaged two-year-olds in England. The offer for three and four-year-olds was extended in September 2017 to 30 hours for children of eligible working parents.
Every school term, the Department for Education (DfE) measures children signed up to receive 30 hours’ childcare as a percentage of eligible families. Cheshire East has consistently scored highly each term at a regional and national level for take-up of the 30 hours’ entitlement.
In figures recently published by the DfE, the borough was ranked the highest in the North West with 106 per cent of children receiving 30 hours’ childcare. This compares with an average of 95 per cent for the region and 92 per cent for England.
Cheshire East’s score exceeds 100 per cent due to the number of children attending nurseries or childminders exceeding the resident population with children from other local authority areas also using high-quality services in Cheshire East.
Mark Palethorpe, acting executive director for people at Cheshire East Council, said: “I am delighted that parents across Cheshire East are accessing the 30 hours offer, as we know that childcare costs can be a barrier preventing people from working.
“It is also important that children across Cheshire East have every opportunity to achieve and reach their potential, preparing them for school and enjoying their learning experiences.
“This achievement is a credit to childcare providers, including schools, who work closely with Cheshire East Council to ensure parents can access this valuable entitlement.”
To find out if you are eligible to receive free 30 hours’ free childcare visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk