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Two schemes that help families in Cambridgeshire to find the right childcare have won national awards.

The 30 hours childcare offer for working parents launched in September 2017. This doubles the 15 hour entitlement introduced in 2010 and can save families of 3 and 4 year olds up to £5,000 per year per child.

As at the 20th of February more than 3,800 families in Cambridgeshire were taking up their entitlement. Of these 12.3% claimants are taking the full 30 hours entitlement and almost a quarter (23.8%) taking up more than 15 hours but less than 30 hours.

The winning Cambridgeshire projects at the national Childcare Works Awards were:

• Winner of the Partnership Award category - Mel Negus, a childminder in Whittlesey was concerned with the amount of information available to providers about the 30 hours extended entitlement. She arranged local meeting so that all childcare providers could come together to support each other. As a result childminders and nurseries in the town have all worked in partnership to offer 30 hours childcare for parents.

Winner of the Local Authority Sharing Practice Award category - Cambridgeshire County Council officers developed and shared a spreadsheet modelling tool to help childcare providers to model their costs and income in order to assess their capacity to offer the extended entitlement.

Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said, “I’m delighted that two Cambridgeshire projects have been recognised in the Childcare Works Awards.

“Thanks to the hard work of childcare providers across the county our latest estimate is that there will be sufficient spaces for all children looking for a 30 hours childcare place for summer term 2018 - we are currently predicting a surplus of approximately 500 places across the county.

“We are conscious of the need to support childcare providers and have commissioned the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) to support with business planning, support, advice and training to enable them to deliver the extended entitlement.

“Next steps include working with providers to create additional places in ‘hot spot’ areas where there is high demand for places and developing networks across the five districts to allow peer-to-peer support and information sharing.”

A successful bid to the DfE 30 Hours Delivery Support Fund will provide additional information to parents and providers, and improve online systems to make accessing and retaining a childcare place more straightforward.

Clare Buckingham, Strategic Policy and Place Planning Manager at Cambridgeshire County Council (left) collecting the award on behalf of Mel Negus and Michelle Dyson, Director of Early Years & Childcare at the Department for Education (right).

Graham Arnold, Cambridgeshire County Council, and Michelle Dyson, Director of Early Years & Childcare at the Department for Education.

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