Government praises childcare funding levels


​Over 80 per cent of eligible two-year-olds are benefitting from free childcare in North Somerset making the council the best performing authority in the South West for encouraging take-up.

Around 540 two-year-olds are now accessing free early learning sessions in a nursery, pre-school or childminding setting.

North Somerset Council’s performance is well above the national average of 63 per cent and the council has been praised for its performance by the Government.

In a letter to chief executive Mike Jackson, Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education said: “I am writing to congratulate you and your team for your work in delivering funded early learning for two-year-olds. Your ongoing dedication continues to raise the standards for children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and gives them the crucial support they need to do well at school and beyond.

“I am sure that with your continued commitment, you will succeed in ensuring take-up among the remaining children eligible for this entitlement.”

Cllr Colin Hall, executive member for children and young people’s services said the high take-up of funding for places was a team effort.

“I would like to thank our early years team, health colleagues, childcare providers and other professionals for their hard work to help people access the free early-learning sessions they are entitled to. Not only has their work been recognised by the Government but it has also placed us top of the South West and 10th out of 152 local authorities nationally in terms of the take-up of these funded places.”

To find out if you are eligible for funding visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/fis.

Within the next month parents/carers and childcare providers will also be able to complete their own funding self-assessment online and get an immediate response.