Podcast on Northumberland's 30-hour free childcare pilot scheme

Some of the participants in the childcare pilot podcast.
Some of the participants in the childcare pilot podcast.

Members of Northumberland County Council's Early Years Team got together with partners and service users to discuss the 30-hour free childcare pilot and what it meant to them.

The podcast was recorded as part of Northumberland County Council’s commitment to feedback on progress, in order to support others to be ready for the national roll-out of the scheme in 2017.

Taking part in the 73-minute discussion, which looked at experiences so far, lessons learnt and what the extended entitlement means to them, were Eve Sinclair, Early Years sustainability officer, Katie Watson - Early Years adviser, Carol - a grandmother of a child using 30-hour provision, Emma Potts - headteacher at Prudhoe Adderlane First School, Di Richardson - owner of Diandjims Nursery in Prudhoe and Hexham.

The 30-hour free childcare pilot scheme started for eligible parents in Northumberland in September 2016. The original target of 415 places to be filled was successfully achieved by July, with funding for a further 160 places being granted by Government, meaning a total of 575 families are now benefiting from 30 hours of free childcare across the county.

Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children's services at Northumberland County Council, said: "We are delighted to be taking part in this childcare pilot scheme to offer extra hours of childcare to families in Northumberland. The Early Years team have worked hard to ensure the pilot is a success in Northumberland. They were keen to take part in the discussion with providers and service users, to hear what the pilot has meant to them."

You can listen to the full podcast here.