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A third of parents yet to secure a 30-hour place, DfE figures show

By Shannon Hawthorne
 
Nearly a third of parents who had received an eligibility code for the 30-hour funded childcare offer had yet to have secured a place at the start of the autumn term, Department for Education (DfE) statistics have revealed.
 
According to the DfE, while 216,384 eligibility codes had been issued by 31 August for eligible children, only 152,829 (71%) were validated by 5 September.
 
The launch of the government’s flagship scheme has been marred by technical issues relating to the online Childcare Service website, which parents use to sign up for the offer, and concerns about inadequate funding levels, which the Alliance has warned could result in a lack of available 30-hours places.
 
Commenting on the figures, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:
 
"It is incredibly concerning that, with the 30 hours now launched nationwide, nearly a third of parents who have signed up for the offer have yet to secure a place.

"We have long warned that inadequate funding rates would result in providers limiting the number of childcare places on offer, if not opting out of the scheme altogether, and clearly we are starting to see the effects of this.

"Add to this the fact that many parents are still finding it impossible to sign up for the offer at all due to technical issues, and it's clear that this scheme is in real trouble.

"Government needs to get a grip on this policy, and invest what's needed in terms of both  adequate provider funding levels and a robust IT infrastructure, if it is to have any chance of keeping the promise that it made to parents."