Parents urged to not miss out on free early education and childcare

Kirklees Council is urging parents to check whether they are missing out on free early learning and childcare.

Help is at hand with a number of different options to help working families across Kirklees.

Some 2-year-olds whose parents receive certain benefits or a low income can have up to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year (school term time). The same free childcare offer applies to all 3 and 4-year-olds.

An extra 15 hours of free childcare is available to some working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds. Some childcare providers will also offer free hours in the school holidays.

The free early learning and childcare entitlements can also be used with other schemes such as Tax-Free Childcare, Universal Credits or Tax Credits.

Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said: “The pandemic has affected every one of us individually and we can’t under-estimate the huge impact it has had on younger lives and many families across Kirklees.

“It’s really important to us that children and families have the help they need to get back to normality and that children are supported to enjoy the best start in life.

“It’s well evidenced that children who attend an early learning provider gain vital skills which boost their development, prepare them for life at school, help them to learn, laugh and have fun.

“We also want parents to have the opportunity to work, study and be economically active, so the time provided by free childcare is incredibly valuable.

“Free childcare helps families to juggle their time, money and commitments and can make a big difference in improving the lives of adults and children alike.”

Free learning and childcare places are available from a range of approved childcare providers, including childminders, day nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups, as well as schools and academies which have a nursery.

To check the criteria and use the childcare calculator to see which options would benefit your family, visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

To apply for 15 hours for your 2-year-old, visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/freechildcare

To apply for the extra 15 hours for your 3 or 4-year-old, visit www.gov.uk/apply-30-hours-free-childcare

For help and advice, contact the Kirklees Family Information Service by emailing: fis@kirklees.gov.uk.

Huddersfield Times

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