Thousands of parents unable to access a 30-hour place

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More than 21,000 codes issued to parents for the 30 hours by the end of August have still not been validated by providers or local authorities.

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Parents with eligible three-year-olds are still struggling to access the 30 hours, Government figures show

While an additional 42,516 30-hour codes have been validated since last month, 21,039 have yet to be approved.

New figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) today (12 October) reveal that of the 216,384 eligibility codes issued by 31 August for children aged three, 195,345 were validated by 9 October, the equivalent of 90 per cent. This is up from the validation of 152,829 of the issued codes as of 5 September.

The data excludes all eligibility codes issued after 31 August, the deadline for applying for a 30-hour place for the autumn term. According to the DfE, codes issued after this date are excluded even if the parents applied by 31 August and further eligibility checks were required, although these children would be entitled to a place this term.

As local authorities and providers can continue to validate codes for children eligible for a 30-hour place this term, the DfE says the number and percentage of codes validated is still changing and will increase during the term.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, ‘While it is undoubtedly positive that the number of parents who have been able to validate their eligibility codes has increased, it is concerning that nearly halfway through the term, more than 20,000 parents still haven’t been able to access a 30 hours place.

‘Given that childcare providers tend to have more spare places available during the autumn term, ensuring that all eligible children are able to access a 30-hours place is only going to get more difficult as the year progresses.

‘We know that, as a result of the continued lack of adequate funding, many childcare providers are still limiting the number of 30 hours places they are willing to offer. If the Government is to have any chance of ensuring sufficiency capacity as the policy continues to roll out, it must invest what is needed into the scheme. There is no other option.’

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