Ten Year Strategy for Childcare

Article posted: 07/03/2023

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The Government’s ten year strategy Choice for parents, the best start for children was announced on 2nd December 2004 as part of the Chancellor’s Pre Budget Report. It sets out its commitment to invest in childcare, early education and work life balance so that families are able to secure the best start in life for their children.
The goal is for all parents to have access to good quality early education and childcare for their children and for childcare provision to be flexible, good quality, affordable and accessible, fitting into the lives of families.
The strategy builds on the work that Sure Start local programmes and early excellence centres have established in many areas. It represents a major Government commitment to ensuring that these services are available to all children and families.
Please visit the Treasury website to view the document and to find out about the Ten Year Strategy.
Key announcements:
Extension of the maternity leave entitlement to nine months paid leave from April 2007, with a goal of a full year by the end of the next Parliament.
More financial support for parents through an increase in the limits of the childcare element of Working Tax Credit to £300 a week (£175 for one child) from April 2005
The current free entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds to nursery education will be extended to 12 ½ hours, 38 weeks a year from 2006 and 15 hours a week by 2010 with a long term goal of 20 hours free early education and childcare a week.
By 2010 there will be a Sure Start children’s centre in every community, offering access to integrated early years activities, childcare and family services. We expect children’s centres to be developed from existing Sure Start Local Programmes, Early Excellence Centres and the mini Sure Start Local Programmes in many areas.
For older children and their families, extended schools will provide a gateway to local services and, for primary school children, a guarantee of care for children out of school hours and during the holidays between 8am and 6pm.
A new duty on local authorities to secure provision of childcare, complementing authorities’ existing responsibilities in relation to early education. Authorities will need to work with local communities, schools, private and voluntary sector providers and other key partners to develop accessible, integrated services which meet the needs of local families.

WRN welcomes the government’s Ten Year Strategy for Childcare as a major step forward. We look forward to working with key stakeholders to help make the transition from home to work easier for women returners.


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