This week has seen the national roll-out by Government of the Childcare Service for children up to the age of four.

This means that parents wishing to access Tax-Free Childcare now or the 30 hours free childcare entitlement from September 2017 are now able to apply by using the Government’s Childcare Service website.

Northumberland County Council was one of eight local authorities nationally – the Early Implementers – to take part in the pilot scheme to offer eligible families 30 hours of free childcare for 3-4 year olds.

The 30-hour free childcare pilot scheme was opened to eligible parents in Northumberland in September 2016. The original target of 415 places were allocated successfully by July 2016, with funding for a further 160 places being granted by Government – meaning a total of 575 families have benefited from 30 hours of free childcare across the county to date. In addition to this,due to the success of the pilot a further 250 families will also benefit this term.

Daljit Lally, Deputy Chief Executive at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are delighted to have taken part in the pilot scheme to offer additional hours of free childcare.

“This scheme is now being rolled out across the country and I am proud the work we carried out has helped to shape the scheme on a national level.”

More information about the scheme and details on how to apply, can be found online: