Borough of Poole has been successful in providing working parents an extended offer of up to 30 hours per week of high quality, free early education places for local 3 and 4-year-old children.
Committee members were asked to approve these outcomes and priorities as set out in the childcare sufficiency assessment review presented at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 4 December.
The extended offer was launched in autumn of 2017 and, by the end of the first year, was being accessed by 1,195 children in Poole. The childcare available to families in Poole has an excellent quality record, with 98% of inspected childcare provision being rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, which far exceeds south west and national averages.
All 3 and 4-year olds are entitled to 15 hours per week of free early years childcare. However, since the autumn of 2017, this entitlement was extended to 30 hours per week for eligible working families in Poole. Some two-year olds are also eligible for free early years childcare.
The extended offer has been successful with 48% of families accessing more than 15 hours of free childcare for three and four-year olds. Borough of Poole has ensured that there is enough suitable free early education and childcare places available, which includes childminders, nurseries and pre-schools, for local families that need it.
Childcare provision in Poole is of high quality, with 98% of inspected private, voluntary and independent settings and 99% of inspected childminders having a quality rating of Good or Outstanding from Ofsted. This means that these providers have shown that they can deliver a high standard of teaching and effective safeguarding, ensuring that all children in their care feel safe and happy.
Cllr Mike White, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Children, Families and Capital Projects, Borough of Poole, said: “We are extremely pleased that the extended offer of 30 hours of free early years childcare provision has been successful for Poole families. Many of the families we have spoken to have told us that this scheme has made a positive difference to their lives and has had an economic benefit. We are continuing to identify areas in Poole where demand for 30 hours childcare is high and work with providers to expand the number of flexible childcare places to support working families.”
To find out more about childcare provision in Poole, please contact the Poole Family Information Service on 01202 261999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working parents can check their eligibility for 30 hours free education online at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.