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Childcare in Wales: Funding of Nearly £100 Million For the Expansion of Free Childcare

Nearly £100 million by the welsh government has allocated to improve childcare availability, fund free part-time positions, and expand Welsh language provision.

Beginning in April, an additional 3,000 free child care slots will be made available for two-year-olds. Due to the Welsh Government, "The Childcare Offer for Wales" provides eligible parents with a combination of childcare and early education for children aged 3 or 4.

Under the deal, more parents who are at work and out would benefit from free childcare.

The £100 million includes £26 million for the next expansion phase of part-time Flying Start childcare.

Flying Start assists families with young children living in the most disadvantaged regions of Wales by providing free, part-time, high-quality child care for children ages two and three.

The current policy of the Welsh government regarding free childcare is to allow working parents of children aged three or four to claim up to 30 hours of early education and childcare per week for 48 weeks per year.

The other  £70m for improvements and essential maintenance is available to all childcare settings, which can apply through their local authority.

Funding  £3.8m to support more childcare providers to improve their Welsh language provision, which is a commitment in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru. 

This support includes increasing the number of registered Welsh-medium after-school clubs and providing training and support to practitioners so that they can improve their Welsh and pass on this knowledge to children in their care.

The Welsh Government announced in April that up to 2,500 more children in Wales would be eligible for Flying Start services. This initial phase of the programme began in Wales at the beginning of September.

In the second phase, which begins in April, an additional 3,000 two-year-olds will be eligible, with £11.6 million allocated for 2023-24 and £14.3 million for 2024-25. Local authorities are currently contemplating which areas will be included in phase two, and families who qualify will be contacted in the new year.

The 3,000 spots will provide each child with 12.5 hours per week during the school year. The offer will not be subject to a means test and may be made within or outside of an existing Flying Start area.

Children learn and benefit greatly from high-quality childcare, according to Plaid Cymru; what appears to be simple play is actually an important educational experience in which children learn and socialise in a supportive and nurturing environment.

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