Local authorities in Wales have been invited to bid for the funding which will be available over three years, 2018-2021, to open new settings or refurbish existing ones to ensure they meet the required standard to deliver the 30 hours childcare offer.
The 30 hours of funded childcare is currently being rolled out across Wales and will be available across the country by 2020.
With the funding, there will be a specific focus on developing new settings, in areas that currently lack childcare provision, in particular rural and disadvantaged areas. The funding is available for both the maintained and private and voluntary sectors.
The Welsh Government wants settings already delivering the Foundation Phase, the statutory curriculum for three- to seven-year-olds, to be able to offer the 30 hours from the same site.
The funding is also designed to support the expansion of Welsh-medium provision and special educational needs (SEND) and additional learning needs (ALN) provision.
Making the announcement today, minister for children Huw Irranca-Davies will say, ‘I’m really pleased to announce a significant £60m Welsh Government investment in new childcare settings across Wales, which will ensure parents across the country are able to access high-quality, government-funded childcare places. This will not only ensure their children are given the very best start in life, but it will go a long way to help reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours.’
‘This investment will help ensure the 30 hours offer is as clear and easy as possible for working parents to understand and children to access. As part of this, we need to enable parents, wherever possible, to be able to drop off their children and pick them up from the same site and access a seamless 30 hours of childcare, although wrap around provision will continue to be an important part of the answer for some children and parents.
‘The investment will help deliver the Welsh Government’s commitment to introducing Community Learning Centres which provide extended services with childcare, parenting support, family learning and community access to facilities built around the school day.’
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA),said, 'It is important that families and carers are given a choice and flexibility when it comes to childcare.
'As the minister has acknowledged wrap around provision is an important element of childcare for some young children and parents.
'NDNA urges local authorities to work with the private and voluntary sector to ensure the delivery of high quality flexible childcare and support them to expand and grow their businesses where there is a high demand for childcare provision. This will also help to maintain a level playing field in childcare provision and access.'