Thousands of Staffordshire parents entitled to 30 hours a week funded childcare for their three and four-year-olds have only days left to register for it.
Applications via the government’s website must be made by the end of August, or parents will have to wait until January to claim their hours.
To be eligible both parents, or the parent in a single-parent family, must earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours a week at the national minimum wage, or living wage.
Parents can check if they qualify and sign up for the scheme at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk but they must do so by August 31.
Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:
Staffordshire was one of a few places to run a trial last year where the number of funded hours was increased from 15 to 30 and the difference it made was remarkable.
It put money in families’ pockets by either saving on fees, or by allowing a parent to go out to work, or it simply improved people’s work-life balance.
Now it’s being rolled out across the country, but people have to register by the end of August and it would be a shame for them to lose out simply because they’ve left it too late.”
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 have so far 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:
There are millions of hours of high quality funded childcare still waiting to be claimed.
The take-up rate in Staffordshire is better than in many places, but I’d urge parents to check now if they’re eligible and, if they are, sign up straight away.”