Issue - items at meetings - Free Childcare for Two Year Olds: Capital Plans

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Issue - meetings

Free Childcare for Two Year Olds: Capital Plans

Meeting: 18/11/2013 - Children & Young People Committee (Item 44)

44 Free Childcare for Two Year Olds: Capital Plans pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report of the Executive Director, Children’s Services (copy attached)


RESOLVED - That the committee approves capital spend as set out in the report.


44.1         The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director of Children’s Services which set out capital expenditure plans which aimed to increase supply of free childcare places for eligible two year olds across the city. A free childcare place has been a statutory entitlement for all eligible two year olds from September 2013, and a change in eligibility will come into effect from September 2014 which will increase the likely number of children eligible for a free childcare place in Brighton & Hove to 1,300. The government had provided capital to local authorities to ensure that there are sufficient places available, and this report sets out details of proposed expenditure.


44.2    Since September 2013 a free childcare place has been a statutory entitlement for all two year olds in families who meet the eligibility criteria also used for free school meals, or are looked after by the local authority. In addition the council also provides free childcare for two year olds with a child protection plan if their family does not meet the income eligibility criteria. There are currently 451 children in the city accessing this entitlement which amounts to 87 per cent of children for whom there is funding; it is anticipated that this number will increase further as the scheme progresses.


44.3    From September 2014 eligibility will expand to include families in receipt of working tax credit and have a low income, as well as disabled children and those who have left care through adoption or special guardianship. An estimated 1,300 two year old children in Brighton & Hove will take up this entitlement.


44.4    The Early Years and Childcare Strategy Manager stated that the latest available data indicated that eligible children lived in most areas of the city, with some clusters in lower income areas. At present there appeared to be sufficient provision for eligible two year olds, but there might be a shortage of places in September 2014.


44.5    The Head of Sure Start explained that the report sought to set out the changes that had been made and details as to how arrangements would work in future. The capital projects referred to in the report would extend the number of places available in central Brighton. In the West of the city it had been identified that there was likely to be shortage of places in Hangleton it was proposed to develop a council-owned building to be let to a private or voluntary sector provider to run.


44.6    Councillor Simson stated that she was uncertain whether the level of provision suggested would provide sufficient quality for such young children and was also concerned whether there would be enough trained staff coming through to provide the staff needed in the expanded settings proposed and whether additional places could be provided for two year olds at the expense of places for three and four year olds.


44.7    The Chair confirmed that measures had been put in to place to seek to ensure that a high level of provision was available and that all settings provided a high standard of care and that no children were placed into settings where provision had been identified as being unsatisfactory.


44.8    Councillor Pissaridou enquired whether any places were funded currently at facilities which were considered inadequate and it was confirmed that was not the case.


44.9    RESOLVED - That the committee approves capital spend as set out in the report.


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