Apply now for free childcare for 2 year olds

Parents in Northumberland are being urged to apply for free childcare for their two-year-olds.

Residents are being encouraged to put forward their child’s name if they receive certain benefits – and it is being stressed that the scheme will not affect any benefits.

Since September 2014, the Government has provided 15 hours of free funded education per week (570 hours a year) to 40 per cent of two-year-olds, from the term following their second birthday, resulting in over 1,300 eligible children across Northumberland.

Many parents have already taken up their entitlement and are reaping the benefits of high quality early years’ provision, supporting their children to develop self-confidence, a good range of social skills and achieve their full potential.

All the childcare – whether at a nursery, pre-school, play-group or by a childminder – is provided by registered professionals who are fully trained and have been police checked. They are inspected by Ofsted – the organisation that makes sure schools, nurseries, pre-schools, play-groups and childminders are safe and providing a good education.

Councillor Robert Arckless, Northumberland County Council’s policy board member for children and young people, said: “For those eligible, this scheme provides many benefits for parents and children. The providers who have been working with our officers report very positive experiences by all involved and we hope that parents entitled to the support will grasp this with both hands.”

To confirm eligibility visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/freechildcare or call (01670) 622726.