Ninety-eight per cent of two year olds in Swindon who are entitled to early education have received it thanks to the Council’s Early Years team.
In Swindon, there are approximately 750 children aged two who are entitled to 15 hours per week of early education and childcare from the term after their second birthday.
Nationally, the take-up of this offer for two year olds has fallen from 72 per cent to 68 per cent. But Swindon’s take-up has risen to 98 per cent, which has increased from 73 per cent last year.
Councillor Russell Holland, Swindon Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Commercialisation, Education and Skills, said: “Early education from age two has long-lasting benefits for children and helps to promote their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.
“This funding helps to narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers by preparing children to start school. It is thanks to the good work of the Council’s Early Years team that parents in Swindon are aware of the entitlement, how to access it and where to access it.
“Families are supported on an individual basis to make an informed decision about whether early education is right for their child and they are able to find a place which meets their needs.”
To ensure the high take-up of funding is maintained, the Council is about to launch a Parent Champions Scheme. The scheme will look to recruit and train a number of parent volunteers who themselves have had a positive experience of early education to spread the word with other parents in their local community.
The volunteers will be supported to use the skills and experience they gain to go on to access paid employment.
Parent volunteers will be well placed to support other parents in their community as they will have first-hand experience of local services and activities in their area.
To apply for two year old funding for your child, or to become a parent champion, please contact the Early Years team by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the wider early years and childcare offers available to families, please visit: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.