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COUNCIL SURVEY TO ASSESS DEMAND FOR FREE CHILDCARE

Are you a parent of children aged under 5? If so, the Isle of Wight Council would like your views on whether demand for childcare on the Island is met by the right amount of supply.

In February 2016 the Government announced £13million, which will allow councils across the country to deliver 30 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds. The extra hours of childcare are aimed at making it easier for these parents to work.

All 3 and 4-year-olds are already entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week and the additional 15 hours of free childcare is available for families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone-parent family) and each parent earns the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage.

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The aim of the online survey is to gauge interest in the 30 hour free childcare offer in order to ensure services and provisions are in place from September 2017, when the Isle of Wight Council will introduce the 30 hours of free childcare for the working parents/carers of 3 and 4-year-olds.

The survey is live now and will run until Tuesday 31st January 2017 and will cover what type of childcare setting people currently use and for how many hours. The survey will specifically look at whether working parents would use the extra free childcare hours, if they were eligible.

Findings will be analysed and fed back to all providers, in order to engage them with the offer of the 30 hour provision to ensure that the island is geared up to offer the 30 hour free childcare to all that are eligible.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Executive member for children’s services, said:

“I would urge working parents to respond to this online survey as it will help the Island plan for future childcare needs.

“This will help us to make sure we are meeting the needs of parents who are wishing to return to work or training.”

Childcare can be defined as anyone else (other than a parent or carer) looking after your child especially when you are at work, training or studying.

You can access the online survey at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/free_childcare_survey.

For more information about the Government announcement earlier this year, see:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-of-parents-benefit-from-30-hours-free-childcare-early.

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