Hounslow families urged not to miss out on free childcare

Parents and carers in Hounslow are being urged not to miss out on a free early years education place for their child in September.  

Published: Friday, 24th July 2020

Image of children at a children's centre

The free early education places can be accessed in day nurseries, pre-schools, school nursery classes and with childminders. Despite these early years settings opening their doors on 1 June, the number of children accessing their free early education place has been low.

  • Only 1 in 20 (5%) of disadvantaged children aged between two and three living in the borough have accessed their free early education place
  • 92% of eligible 3 to 4-year-old children have not accessed their free 15 hours
  • 84% of eligible 3 to 4-year-old children have not accessed their free 30 hours childcare.

Hounslow Council is concerned the low take-up means that children could be missing out on vital education and skills development, which will set them up for life. A child's early years are the foundation for their future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning and learning abilities.

Early language development impacts on children’s future success. Disadvantaged children who miss out on early years education, could start school with four or more months learning behind more advantaged children.

Childcare providers must follow strict government guidelines to make their setting safe including:

  • Enhanced hand hygiene and cleaning practice
  • Caring for children in small groups or ‘bubbles’ and minimising contact between these groups
  • Maximising the use of outdoor spaces
  • Physical distancing between adults and older children in the setting including parents at drop-off and pick-up times
  • Only allowing children access to equipment and toys that can be cleaned before and after use

Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, at Hounslow Council said:

“Every child in the borough of Hounslow deserves the best start in life and should be given equal opportunity to succeed. Unfortunately, very often, in early years education, it is the most disadvantaged children who miss out.

“We want to reassure parents that all our early childcare providers are following strict government health and safety guidelines and have put rigorous procedures in place to ensure the children are safe and protected.”

Mariana Levicka is a mum-of-two who lives locally and her daughters attend Lampton Park Preschool. She said:

“I sent the girls back to preschool so they could connect with their peers. Lampton Park Preschool has put a range of safety measures in place, including regular hand washing and allocating the children to small groups, to protect them. 

“The staff have been so professional and managed the situation brilliantly. My children come home very happy and stimulated. The preschool offers so many more activities than I could provide at home.”

Don’t leave it too late to secure your child’s place for September now or your child will miss out. To find out more about childcare in Hounslow please visit www.hounslow.gov.uk/fsd

Alternatively, you may prefer to email the Family Information Service about your childcare needs via fis@hounslow.gov.uk  or call them on 020 8583 3470.

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