Mott MacDonald and Hempsall’s have been appointed by The Department for Education to support Childcare Works, a new project that will see the extended entitlement of free childcare for working parents rise to 30 hours. The additional 15 hours of free childcare will help families by reducing the cost of childcare and will support parents into work or to work more hours should they wish to do so.
Childcare Works aims to deliver high quality childcare for two, three and four-year-olds in an accessible, flexible and affordable way. Mott MacDonald and Hempsall’s will work directly with providers, local authority early years teams, their partners and central government to implement the project. Action for Children has also joined the Childcare Works national delivery team, bringing their additional sector knowledge, specialist expertise and reach across the country.
The appointment follows the partnership’s success in delivering Achieving Two Year Olds, an initiative that offered free early years’ entitlement for the least advantaged two-year-olds which saw take-up levels rise to nearly 70% of eligible children.
Andrew Guest, education director at Mott MacDonald, said: “The extra hours of free childcare available for families where both parents are working will offer significant opportunities in allowing parents to make work pay and support job creation in the sector. By bringing together the delivery team from the successful Achieving Two Year Olds programme we are excited about playing a key role in enabling these benefits to be realised by families and children across the country.”
James Hempsall, the new national programme director for Childcare Works, explained: “We know such reforms bring many challenges, however we are a team experienced in finding solutions as we did with the two-year-old entitlement. We will be providing a data and intelligence led approach, where our universal offer to all local authorities in England is overlaid with a significant allocation of resource to a targeted programme. This programme will focus on addressing the barriers to implementation and direct time and effort where it is needed most and will have the biggest impact.”
“The 30-hours programme will generate real learning and the imperative will be to harness this quickly to translate it into scalable and transferrable solutions. We need to support the rest of the country, along with those local authorities selected as Early Innovators, to prepare and implement strategies for a successful roll-out in September 2017. We are a team ready to start this work now,” James added.
Sue Robb, head of early years at Action for Children, added: “Childcare Works has developed a robust programme of practical, high-quality and effective support and solutions for all providers and every local authority. We will be strongly focused on sufficiency, flexibility, two-year-olds and access for children with special educational needs and disability. Our role will be to support many of these outcomes and we are delighted to be part of the team.”