Council gets extra childcare funding

Coun Wayne Daley celebrated the council securing additional funding with headteacher Jane Bushell and students at Bedlington West End First School. Picture by Simon Williams.
Coun Wayne Daley celebrated the council securing additional funding with headteacher Jane Bushell and students at Bedlington West End First School. Picture by Simon Williams.

The overall number of places available in Northumberland for 30 hours of free childcare per week has now increased.

The national roll-out to offer an additional 15 hours for three and four-year-olds from all eligible families got under way this month.

Northumberland County Council has already successfully piloted the scheme from September last year in rural areas, with more than 600 families benefitting.

The local authority secured £2million extra funding to allow it to provide an additional amount of free places across four early year providers within the county.

Ashington, Bedlington and Blyth are among the areas to benefit from this money.

Bedlington Central councillor Russ Wallace said: “Not only will this additional funding help families throughout the county, but it means that there will be additional places in the West Bedlington Early Years Partnership and this will directly impact families within our local area and will form part of helping parents of young children return to or continue working.”

Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services at the county council, added: “The offer of additional hours of free childcare is very important to families with young children and I am delighted that the council has secured funding to increase the number of places of free childcare we can offer throughout the county.

“This funding is very important in allowing us to support even more working families with young children with their childcare costs.”