The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones has set out his government’s five year plan which includes confirmation of the Labour Party's manifesto pledge around a childcare offer. Among the Welsh Government’s key commitments is the commitment to supporting a prosperous and secure Wales by "Removing barriers to employment by creating the most generous childcare offer anywhere in the UK, providing 30 hours free childcare a week for working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds, 48 weeks of the year".
What is confirmed already?
Welsh Government intend to provide 30 hours a week of free early education and childcare for working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds in Wales, for 48 weeks of the year. The current free early education provided by Foundation Phase will form part of this offer.
They want the childcare offer to be as clear and easy to access as possible so that parents can continue to choose the providers that best suit their needs.
How is PACEY Cymru working to support members?
PACEY Cymru is already involved in a number of groups feeding into the development of the offer and are keen to ensure the following are considered as key priorities:
- Importance of ensuring that the needs of the child are central to the development of any offer in order to support continuity of care and transitions between settings/school and social, emotional needs of children (which link to wellbeing)
- Opportunities for all registered childcare settings to provide the childcare elements of the offer to support sustainability of existing childcare providers
- The importance of consideration of parental choice when choosing childcare in line with the needs of the child
- The need to ensure a consistent, standardised funding formula and process for the offer to support sustainability
A blog on the Childcare Offer in Wales has been produced by PACEY Cymru that gives further information and we will continue to provide updates to this as information is received and confirmed.
How can you be involved?
Welsh Government are keen to hear the views of parents and providers, during this initial 'listening' period to inform an offer that will be consulted on more formally in Spring 2017.
They have launched the Talk Childcare campaign, which includes an online survey to support gathering the views of parents of children who are using or have used childcare for 3 and 4 year olds. You can promote this to any interested parents of children in your care to support partnership working or complete yourself as a parent if you have children of a relevant age.
As a provider of childcare or childcare and early years professional you will have the opportunity to have your views heard on the development of an offer through informal focus groups and meetings during the autumn and we will keep you informed of developments around this.
Also watch out for the #talkchildcare on social media to join in with online conversations. You can also share your views through PACEY Local.
If you have any points or views you would like to be considered by PACEY Cymru to inform our work as this develops with Welsh Government you can share these with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.