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There are 22 unitary authorities (county and county borough councils) that deliver a wide range of services.
The Childcare Act 2006 expands and clarifies in legislation the vital role local authorities play as strategic leaders in the provision of childcare locally.

The Welsh Government has a number of schemes to help parents with childcare costs.

Flying Start

Flying Start is part of our early years programme for families. It is available to children under 4 years of age living in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Wales.

Childcare is one of 4 core elements of the Flying Start programme. It provides quality childcare to parents of all eligible 2-3 year olds, for 2½ hours a day, 5 days a week for 39 weeks a year. Children living in Flying Start areas become eligible for free quality childcare the term after their 2nd birthday.

Flying Start childcare helps to prepare children for entry into the Foundation Phase at age 3. Flying Start childcare settings aim to ensure the best possible quality of care for children by concentrating on 3 specific areas:

  1. Quality childcare environments.
  2. Quality childcare staff.
  3. Quality experiences for children.
To find out if you are eligible for Flying Start childcare you should contact your Local Authority who delivers the programme in your area on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Foundation Phase

All children in Wales are entitled to a minimum of 10 hours of free, part-time Foundation Phase education in a school, or funded nursery, in the term following their third birthday. 

The Foundation Phase is a developmental curriculum for 3 to 7-year-olds in Wales. 

Childcare Offer

We intend to provide 30 hours a week of free early education and childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds in Wales, for 48 weeks of the year. The current free early education provided by Foundation Phase will form part of this offer.

7 local authorities have been chosen to work with the Welsh Government to pilot the new Childcare Offer from September 2017. These local authorities are:   

  • Anglesey and Gwynedd
  • Blaenau Gwent 
  • Caerphilly
  • Flintshire 
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Swansea
Once the offer is tested in these local authority areas, a wider roll-out across Wales will follow.

Further Information

You can contact your local authority Family Information Service (FIS) who provide free, impartial help, support and advice on a range of services for families. This includes Childcare, Foundation Phase and Flying Start services in your local area.