Scores of eligible 2 year olds in Wolverhampton are missing out on free childcare places - because their parents or carers haven't signed up for it.

Some 1,875 2 year olds in the city are eligible for up to 15 hours free childcare a week, and so far there around 1,000 children taking advantage of their free places.

Under the Department for Education scheme, 2 year olds are eligible for free childcare if their parents are in receipt of certain benefits, including income support, income related Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeksers Allowance, Child Tax or Working Tax Credits and disability living allowance. If a child is eligible, parents can start claiming free 15 hours of childcare once they turn 2.

Meanwhile, parents are reminded that all 3 and 4 year olds in Wolverhampton are eligible for up to 15 hours per week of free nursery education, regardless of whether or not their parents are in receipt of benefits.

Councillor Val Gibson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "With figures out this week suggesting the cost of raising a child to the age of 11 is now a staggering £84,000, it's clear that parents need all the help they can get.

"Therefore I'd urge all parents and carers to make sure they register their child for 15 hours free nursery education when they are 3 and 4 and also check out whether they are eligible to receive 15 hours of free childcare at the age of 2."

Councillor Gibson, who saw for herself the city's newest childcare provider - Children United at Park Lane, Low Hill - at its official opening yesterday (Thursday 16 October, 2014), added: "Early years education is tremendously important for the future development of our children; playing and exploring with other children helps them learn lots of new skills which will stand them in good stead as they move towards full time education."

To find out more about 15 hours free childcare for eligible 2 year olds and 15 hours free childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds, please visit Type=articles;Articleid=2608;Title=Free Nursery Education; or call 01902 554242.

  • released: Friday 17 October, 2014