The Northumberland County Council Early Years Team have received praise from the Department for Education for their effective roll out of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

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 pilot scheme in Northumberland was so successful almost double the original allocation of families benefited. The success of the pilot has also encouraged all of the approved Early Year providers across the county to take part in the national roll out for September 2017.

As a result of this success, the Department for Education have asked the Northumberland Early Years Team to become a flagship Local Authority and share their experience and provide support to other local authorities nationally as they deliver 30 hours of free childcare.

Wayne Daley said: “We understand the importance of supporting families across Northumberland with free childcare and we are very proud of our success in the rollout of offering 30 hours free childcare.”

“The Early Years Team have worked very hard to ensure the pilot and national roll out are a success and we are delighted that so many families can benefit from this scheme.”

“The Team have also received further recognition and have been awarded the GeoPlace Exemplar award for their work in developing a digital platform, ‘The Wizard’  which is a secure cloud based application that enables paperless communication for parents and providers and is available nationally for other local authorities to utilise.”