Childcare Programme update
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to consider the proposed Childcare Programme and confirm their support for the criteria used to prioritise projects and also endorse a programme-based approach to maximise funding opportunities, when it meets on 22 September.
When Welsh Government (WG) made this capital grant stream available, the deadline for submitting expressions of interest was short. Having submitted their expression of interest within the timeframe, the Council subsequently undertook more detailed work. This work identified that the total costing for all projects exceeded the funding allocation.
Projects have been prioritised to align with the funding allocation from WG, using locally developed criteria. A co-ordinated approach is being taken to bring together a range of capital funding packages into a single programme to maximise investment.
The programme also includes different capital funding packages to maximise investment in a number of school sites and is formed from the following funding streams: WG Childcare Grant, WG Welsh Medium Grant, 21st Century schools, Flying Start and Flintshire County Council’s own Capital funding.
The WG programme provides 30 hours of government-funded early education and childcare for up to 48 weeks of the year to all three and four year olds of eligible working parents. The 30 hours will be made up of the existing minimum 10 hours of Foundation Phase Early Education (Early Entitlement) and up to 20 hours of childcare with a registered provider.
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Christine Jones, said:
“Parents have told us that ideally they want to be able to drop their children off and pick them up from the same site and access a seamless package of childcare, although wrap around provision between schools and non-maintained providers will continue to be an important part of the answer for some children and parents.
“The primary purpose of the Flintshire programme is therefore to facilitate and support the co-location of the Foundation Phase and childcare provision wherever possible.”
Twelve schools have currently been identified in the programme. Contractor, Wynne Construction has been commissioned by the Council for the Ysgol Glanrafon project, the Flying Start project at Aston Family Centre and the Childcare programme on two stage design & build contracts.
Flintshire County Council’s Leader and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:
“Having reviewed the funding available for various work streams, we believe that a formal variation of funding would be better use of resources and aid effective management of the programme and enable priorised projects to proceed. We have, therefore, sent a formal variation of funding request to Welsh Government and they are currently considering this.”