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30 hours data reveals regional differences in uptake

By Shannon Hawthorne

 
The Department for Education has released statistics on uptake of its 30 hours offer, revealing regional differences in the number of eligible parents able to secure a place.
 
326,068 eligibility codes for the offer were issued by 8 January 2018 but just 266,494 of these were validated at a setting. This means that 18% of families who applied for and secured an eligibility code have not been able to start using the 30-hours offer at a setting.
 
The Department also released a regional breakdown of the figures, highlighting differences across locations in England. For example, in Derbyshire just 59% of the 4,962 codes issued have been validated, compared to 98% in Bath and North East Somerset.
 
Alliance concerns
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “Ministers have serious questions to answer about what is their flagship childcare policy. It’s not fair that parents in two in five local authorities are less likely to find a funded childcare place than their neighbours, or that technical issues continue to prevent families of accessing the funded childcare they’re entitled to.
 
“We take no pleasure in this situation, but childcare providers have repeatedly warned ministers underfunding would lead to this. Unfortunately these problems will only worsen as more children become eligible this term and next. But nothing will change until ministers shift the burden of delivering funded childcare from parents and providers back onto the government which has implemented this policy, by ensuring cost of ‘free’ childcare is met by adequate funding.”
 
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