Parents urged to sign up for free childcare before school holidays

Parents of three and four-year-olds are being urged to apply for an additional 15 hours of free childcare for the September term before schools close for the holidays in July.  

Schools and some playgroups which offer the 30 hours, may close for the upcoming six week summer holidays and it’s important that parents and guardians have applied for the code and submitted it to their setting if they are closed in the holiday period.

Barnsley Council’s Families Information Services are encouraging parents to check their eligibility before it’s too late and they miss the opportunity. If working parents don’t apply for the free childcare, they’ll be missing out on 15 hours of free childcare per week, on top of the existing universal entitlement of 15 hours which three and four-year-olds already receive.

If parents choose a childminder or a day nursery, they can apply for a code up to 31 August 2018 to start in September, as these settings are open in the school holidays.

The 30 hours of free childcare is for 38 weeks.  However, you can ask to ‘stretch’ the offer over the school holidays. For example, 22 hours a week over 50 weeks, to keep childcare fees as low as possible. You can ask your childcare provider if they provide a ‘stretched offer’.

The first term of school can be a busy and expensive time, but by applying for additional free childcare, people are able to save money and open up more time during the week to work more hours.

For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply, parents need to contact Families Information Service by email at infoFIS@barnsley.gov.uk or by calling 0800 0345 340.

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Achieving Potential) said: “We’ve been promoting this campaign for a little while now and it’s great to see so many people take up the opportunity as childcare costs can be expensive.  This scheme is helping many families reduce their childcare costs and supporting many families to gain employment.

“We’re trying to spread the word as much as possible for people to check eligibility and submit the code before schools break up for holidays or you will miss out on the opportunity of a full terms funding.”

If you’re a parent of a three or four year old and want to save money on your childcare costs, simply visit: https://www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/children-families-and-education/childcare-nurseries-and-family-support/30-hours-free-childcare/  email infoFIS@barnsley.gov.uk or call 0800 0345 340.

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