Childcare Offer for Wales expansion must include private nurseries

As the Welsh Government announce an expansion of areas offering 30 hours of funded childcare a week, NDNA Cymru says more private nurseries must continue to be involved.

The Childcare Offer for Wales began in September 2017 in seven local authorities across the country. It aims to provide 30 hours of government-funded childcare to three and four-year-old children of working parents for 48 weeks of the year.

The expansion, announced by Minister for Children and Social Care Huw Irranca-Davies AM, will be rolled out in the following areas:Welsh Government

  • Anglesey: Whole local authority from April 2018
  • Gwynedd: Whole local authority from April 2018
  • Caerphilly: Whole local authority from April 2018
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf: Will initially include wards of of Brynna, Llanharan, Llanharry, Talbot Green, Graig, Rhydyfelin Central, Taff’s Well, Treforest and Hawthorn. All remaining  areas by September 2018
  • Flintshire and Swansea: discussions ongoing to expand to all remaining areas as soon as possible

The Minister, who said he was fully committed to the full roll-out by September 2020, also announced an increase in funding this year of £25m rising to £45m the following year.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) Cymru, said: “We welcome the expansion which will support more families and allow it to be tested more thoroughly before full roll-out.

“But this Offer must involve private, voluntary and independent nurseries who deliver flexible, high-quality childcare for working parents. Currently only a small proportion of private sector nurseries are engaged in the Offer and for it to succeed, the whole sector needs to be playing a role in its implementation. Important lessons must be learned from the evaluation of these early implementers from both a parent and provider perspective.

“While we welcome the additional promised investment for future years, it is vital that the Welsh Government supports the sustainability of the challenging childcare market for the day nursery sector. The hourly funding rate must increase in line with rises in the National Living Wage and other business costs.

“NDNA’s annual nursery survey for Wales currently ongoing will provide us with further evidence on how the current rollout of the Childcare Offer for Wales is being met by the sector and its impact on nurseries’ sustainability.

“NDNA Cymru will work alongside the Welsh Government to ensure the expansion of the offer is effective and engages with all providers.”

The Minister will be attending NDNA Cymru’s Policy Committee Meeting on 18 April at Cardiff City Stadium. Delegates will discuss their concerns with him about sustainability of early years businesses in Wales. 

This is followed by NDNA’s Member Event, with record numbers of members attending, currently more than 150.