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Parents can check eligibility at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Don’t hesitate and miss out on childcare

Parents are being urged to ignore negative publicity and make sure they apply before time runs out for the 30 hours a week funded childcare for their children.

Applications for childcare funding for three and four-year-old children must be made by the end of August via the government’s website http://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Some media reports have said that some parents are having difficulty completing the online application form.

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

“If parents think they are eligible they should go to the website, check their eligibility and enrol before the end of August.

“If they put it off because of the reported problems, and don’t register in August, parents will have to wait until January to claim their hours.

“The advice we’ve had from the government is quite clear: people should continue to register before the end of August. Many people are not experiencing a problem, but if they do, they should ring the helpline which is advertised on the website and they will get a temporary code to use with their childcare provider.”

Depending on take-up, it’s estimated the parents of around 7,000 children in Staffordshire could be entitled to the childcare which can be used during term time, or more flexibly over the year.

But as of August 12, only 56 per cent of those eligible in Staffordshire had applied.

Those who have already registered and been allocated a code are being encouraged to contact their childcare providers to make arrangements as soon as possible.

In Staffordshire 96 per cent of pre-school places are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Mark Sutton added:

“Staffordshire was one of the places that ran a trial scheme increasing care from 15 to 30 hours these extra hours of childcare made a huge difference to people’s lives.

“For some families it puts more money in their pockets by either saving on fees, or allowing a parent to go out to work, or it simply makes a massive improvement to their work-life balance.

“At the same time the feedback from employers was that those benefiting seemed happier and more settled knowing that their childcare was sorted.”