A message from Swindon Borough Council

Parents and carers whose children have reached their second birthday are being reminded to apply for free childcare by Swindon Borough Council.

Locally in Swindon, approximately 736 children are entitled to 15 hours per week of funded childcare (also known as early education or preschool education) at a day nursery, pre-school, playgroup, or with a childminder.

Parents can apply for the two-year-old free childcare and early education if they receive one of the following benefits:

• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
• Universal Credit – if you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less a year, after tax
• Tax credits – if you have an income of £16,190 or less a year, before tax
• The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
• Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
• The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A two-year-old child can also get free childcare and early education if they:

• are looked after by Swindon Borough Council
• have special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan (EHCP)
• get Disability Living Allowance
• have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order.

Councillor Russell Holland, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Commercialisation, Education and Skills, said: “The benefits of early education cannot be understated and it is recognised that two year olds benefit tremendously from being in a safe, stimulating environment which helps their physical, cognitive and social development.

“The funding is invaluable in preparing children for school and helping disadvantaged children narrow the attainment gap.

“The Council’s Early Years team has done a great job in recent years of reaching out to parents and carers to make sure they are accessing these free hours and I would encourage anyone who thinks they may qualify for this vital funding to get in touch so we can help them find their child a place which fits in with their needs.”

The Council has launched a Parent Champions Scheme, which recruits and trains a number of parent volunteers who themselves have had a positive experience of early education to spread the word with other parents in their local community.

The volunteers are supported to use the skills and experience they gain to go on to access paid employment.

Parent volunteers will be well placed to support other parents in their community as they will have first-hand experience of local services and activities in their area.

To apply for two-year-old funding for your child, or to become a parent champion, please contact the Early Years team by email: earlyeducation@swindon.gov.uk.

For more information about the wider early years and childcare offers available to families, please visit: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/