Central Bedfordshire leads the way in extended childcare scheme

The wraparound service is being expanded
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Parents across Central Bedfordshire will benefit from increased access to flexible childcare, as before and after school wraparound childcare begins to expand this week.

With the national rollout planned for September, childcare providers in Central Bedfordshire and three other local authorities are increasing provision five months ahead of schedule, delivering high-quality and affordable childcare from 8am to 6pm for primary school children who need it.

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As part of the early adopter phase, Central Bedfordshire will be expanding existing provision by 40 places from April and 100 from May, along with creating 42 new places from May. Linslade Lower School is expanding its provision by 20 wraparound places.

Central Bedfordshire is taking part in the wraparound scheme - Photo Ben BirchallCentral Bedfordshire is taking part in the wraparound scheme - Photo Ben Birchall
Central Bedfordshire is taking part in the wraparound scheme - Photo Ben Birchall

Central Beds has been allocated up to £1,576,000 to support delivery over the length of the programme, on top of £649,000 in capital funding announced last October to make sure providers have the space to roll out early years and wraparound care.

The programme forms part of the government’s long-term plan to remove childcare as a barrier for a successful career.

Children and Families Minister David Johnston visited a local wraparound provider in Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday. He said: “Parents in Central Bedfordshire now have increased access to quality and affordable childcare outside school hours to know their children have productive activities to do from morning until evening.”

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Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott said: “Parents shouldn’t have to worry about their job clashing with drop-off and pick-up.

“That is why we are providing childcare between eight in the morning and six in the evening for every parent with a child in primary school who needs it, helping parents in Central Bedfordshire build successful careers and grow their local economy - while having peace of mind their children are well looked after.”

Primary schools themselves as well as private providers are able to offer wrapround childcare. Parents looking to benefit from the extended provision are urged to speak to their child’s school or the local authority’s Family Information Services to find wraparound provision that works best for them.

This rollout follows the launch of the first stage of this government’s support for parents of pre-school children.

As of this month, thousands of working parents of two-year-olds across the country are getting help with their childcare costs for the first time.