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Amiee-Mae Holdcroft, aged two, pictured at Noah’s Ark Nursery, Stafford, with one of the Golden Tickets for two-year-old childcare.

Nursery help for low-income families is just the ticket

Eligible parents of two-year-old children will be receiving their Golden Ticket soon offering their ‘prize’ of 15 hours funded childcare.

Staffordshire’s Think 2 initiative means children from low-income families can claim 15 hours a week early education at a local childminder, pre-school, or nursery.

The Golden Tickets are being posted next week to all those known to be eligible, but other parents are urged to apply if they think they meet the qualifying criteria.

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

Think 2 is an excellent start for children and their families, offering them top quality childcare.

If parents or carers receive a Golden Ticket they should cash it in by taking it to their preferred childcare provider, who will do the paperwork on their behalf.”

Aimed at low-income families, funded places are now also available for the children of parents claiming Universal Credit, with net household earnings less than £15,400, as well as those meeting the same eligibility criteria used for free school meals.

Families can choose to use their funded childcare either during term-time over 38 weeks, just like school terms, or they can ‘stretch’ the hours over a longer period if the childcare provider is able to offer it.

If a child is awarded a place, it won’t be taken away if a parent’s circumstances change or gain employment.

Mark Sutton added:

Think 2 is just the first stage of the fantastic early learning help parents receive in Staffordshire.

Once they reach the age of three they may also become eligible for 30 hours of funded childcare and as almost all Staffordshire’s pre-school settings are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted it’s a fantastic opportunity to get a head start.”

If you have any questions about Think 2 childcare, eligibility, or the Golden Ticket visit: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/think2 , email think2@staffordshire.gov.uk or call the Family Information Service on 0300 111 8007.