Four early years settings in Swindon will share £479,500 in government funding to create more than 170 new childcare places for parents.
The funding, announced by Early Years Minister Caroline Dineage today (11 April), is part of a £54m boost to childcare schemes across the country.
Chiseldon Primary School and Nursery, Playsteps Day Nursery, Lainesmead Primary School and Nursery, together with Brunel Special Educational Needs (SEN) Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) will use the funding to invest in new buildings and upgrade facilities to create new early years places to meet additional demand as a result of the 30 hours free childcare policy.
The funding has been awarded as a result of bids submitted by Swindon Borough Council to the Government last August.
Swindon is one of the Government’s Early Implementer areas, where eligible parents have been benefitting from the 30 hours free childcare offer since September.
Cllr Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant, which will create additional childcare places to meet demand for the 30 hours free childcare policy.
“Each project is very different and will offer working families greater choice and flexibility to access high quality provision in Swindon.
“Evidence has shown through our early implementation work that demand for places will be high, so the opportunity to create an additional 170 places, including 30 with a specific focus towards children with complex needs, is extremely timely.”
Brunel SEN MAT and Uplands Educational Trust will work with the Council to increase the opportunities for three and four-year-old children with special educational needs in Swindon.
Jackie Smith, CEO of Brunel SEN MAT and Uplands Educational Trust, said: “Currently a high proportion of 3 and 4 year olds with SEN don’t have the opportunity to access the 30 hours child care on offer which means their parents or carers are unable to return to work.
“Young children with SEN can make rapid progress with specialist early intervention – that is what we are aiming to do. Swindon Portage and Special Tots are doing a fantastic job but their time and resource has to be spread so thinly, we would want to work collaboratively to deliver more provision to more children.
“We want equality for our families with children with SEN and also to improve outcomes for these children through specialist early intervention.”
Eirian Painter, Headteacher of Lainesmead Primary School said: “We are delighted to have been offered a grant by the Department for Education in order to deliver additional and extended hours of nursery care within the Government’s pledge for 30 hours of childcare.
“We are excited about the changes that will be made to the school and the 21st Century provision that we will be able to deliver with this funding.”
Spencer Allen, Headteacher Chiseldon Primary School, said: “We are really excited about receiving this funding as it will improve our nursery provision and the scheme we have designed with Swindon Borough Council will bring a sense of fun to the children’s learning.”
Jo Morris, Manager of Playsteps Day Nursery, said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Swindon Borough Council on a potential extension of the nursery.”
Successful providers will begin building works later this year and will be completed by Spring 2018.
Parents are recommended to visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk to sign up online to receive updates with regards to 30 hours free childcare offer, including notification of when they can apply.