Team praised for childcare pilot

The GeoPlace Exemplar award and certificate.
The GeoPlace Exemplar award and certificate.

The county council has been praised for its roll-out of free childcare.

Northumberland was one of eight local authorities to take part in the pilot scheme to offer eligible families 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

The 30-hour pilot was opened to eligible parents in the county last September. It was so successful, almost double the original allocation benefited. It has also encouraged all of the approved early year providers across the county to take part in this month’s national roll-out.

As a result, the Department for Education has asked the Northumberland early years team to become a flagship local authority and share its experience and provide support to other local authorities nationally.

Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We understand the importance of supporting families across Northumberland with free childcare and we are very proud of our success in the rollout of offering 30 hours free childcare.

“The early years team have worked very hard to ensure the pilot and national roll out are a success and we are delighted that so many families can benefit from this scheme.

“The team have also received further recognition and have been awarded the GeoPlace Exemplar award for their work in developing a digital platform, The Wizard, which is a secure cloud-based application that enables paperless communication for parents and providers and is available nationally for other local authorities to utilise.”