Plan to increase early years places

Published: 26 January 2018

Cabinet is set to approve a plan to increase the number of places for Slough’s youngest children at their meeting on Monday 5 February.

The council’s annual early years childcare sufficiency report has found there will not be enough childcare places in certain areas of the borough by the summer of 2018.

This is particularly concerning this year as the free extended entitlement for 30 hours of provision for three and four olds is available and there are further developments with the roll out of Universal Credit together with new homes being completed across the borough.

Cabinet is being asked to approve funding to pump-prime new provision to be run by private, voluntary and independent sector providers.

The promotion of child care as a career path for residents is also a focus of development with the council’s workforce strategy and information sessions are planned in the coming months.

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, lead member for children and education, said: “It is excellent Slough parents are taking up the free child care places for the hours they are on offer because every survey shows this early years education can be vital for children, their education, development, social abilities and future educational attainment.

“But Slough also has a growing population and in certain areas it looks like demand will outstrip supply.

“Our children’s centres are providing an excellent service and their work in their communities is second to none, but they can’t do it all and by working in partnership we will be able to provide innovative solutions to the supply challenges we face.

“I think it is excellent we will be working with the early years sector across Slough to see how we can help develop more capacity so all our children can get the best start in life and access all the opportunities our town provides.

“I will be recommending this action to Cabinet.”

Some of the areas where there may be insufficient places include the wards of Upton, Cippenham Meadows, Centre and Chalvey.

The annual early years childcare sufficiency report will be presented to Cabinet at their meeting on Monday 5 February 2018, at St Martins Place.