The Welsh Government has set aside £60m to progress early years provision in the country ahead of the introduction of the 30 hours, which will be available by 2020.
Local authorities are being invited to bid for the funding to open new settings or refurbish old ones so that they are in a position to deliver the 30-hour offer. The funding is available for the maintained, private and voluntary sectors and there will be a focus on developing settings in disadvantaged and rural areas.
The funding is also aimed at expanding the special educational needs (SEND) and additional learning needs (ALN) provision in Wales. It will additionally support the teaching and learning of Welsh as a language in nurseries.
The Welsh Government would like settings which already deliver the statutory curriculum for three to seven- year-olds to be able to offer the 30 funded hours from the same site.
During an announcement last week, minister of children Huw Irranca-Davies said: “I’m really pleased to announce a significant £60m Welsh Government investment in new childcare settings across Wales, which will ensure parents across the country are able to access high-quality, government-funded childcare places. This will not only ensure their children are given the very best start in life, but it will go a long way to help reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours.
“This investment will help ensure the 30 hours offer is as clear and easy as possible for working parents to understand and children to access. As part of this, we need to enable parents, wherever possible, to be able to drop off their children and pick them up from the same site and access a seamless 30 hours of childcare, although wraparound provision will continue to be an important part of the answer for some children and parents.
“The investment will help deliver the Welsh Government’s commitment to introducing Community Learning Centres which provide extended services with childcare, parenting support, family learning and community access to facilities built around the school day.”
Chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association, Purnima Tanuku said: “It is important that families and carers are given a choice and flexibility when it comes to childcare.
“As the minister has acknowledged, wraparound provision is an important element of childcare for some young children and parents.
“NDNA urges local authorities to work with the private and voluntary sector to ensure the delivery of high-quality flexible childcare and support them to expand and grow their businesses where there is a high demand for childcare provision. This will also help to maintain a level playing field in childcare provision and access.”