Petition Provide 15 hours free childcare to working parents for children over 9 months.

After 9 months of maternity leave, most working mums do not receive any maternity pay and need to go back to work. I think all working parents should be entitled to 15 hours free childcare from the time a child is 9 months. It makes more sense to provide this funding from 9 months instead of 2 years

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Many working families struggle week to week due to the cost of childcare. You are required to go back to work after a year of maternity pay however many go back after 9 months due to funds. Once you go back the majority of your wage goes to childcare and in some cases you are better of not working. This should not be the case.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 May 2019

The Government currently offers a broad range of childcare support and has no plans to extend the package of free childcare entitlement schemes to working parents of children over 9 months.

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This Government is committed to helping working families with accessible, affordable childcare. We plan to spend around £3.5 billion on early education childcare entitlements this year alone – more than any previous Government.

Supporting parents who want to work with the cost of childcare is important. The Government offers a package of schemes: this includes the entitlement to 15 hours of free childcare a week for disadvantaged 2-year olds; universal 15 hours for all 3-4 year olds, and an additional 15 hours for working parents of 3-4 year olds. Parents of 3 and 4 year olds can save up to £5000 per year in total if they use the full 30 hours of free childcare available. The Government currently has no plans to extend these schemes to working parents of children over 9 months.

The Government has also introduced Tax-Free Childcare, which will save parents up to £2,000 per child on their annual childcare bill for children aged 0-11 (or up to 17 for children with special educational needs or disabilities). Eligible families can also get help with up to 85% of their childcare costs through Universal Credit, subject to a monthly limit. For further information, please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/what-youll-get.

The 2018 Office for National Statistics report on families and the labour market in England shows that many parents return to work and need childcare when their child turns three, hence the 30 hours free childcare entitlements scheme aims to support working families with the cost of childcare, and support parents back into work, or to work more hours should they wish to.

Evidence from the Department for Education’s Study of Early Education and Development (SEED), and the Study of Effective Primary, Pre-school and Secondary Education (EPPSE) is clear that good-quality early education at the age of two has a variety of very positive benefits for children. The EPPSE also indicates that children who start pre-school below age 2 do not show more positive outcomes than those who started at ages between 24-36 months.

Department for Education.

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