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Use of free childcare improving

23/06/2016 Joanna

Recent figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) show that uptake of the government's free childcare scheme for two-year-olds has grown extensively over the last two years.

Buckinghamshire has seen a particularly significant increase. Two years ago just 63 per cent of eligible families took up the offer, but this number has now increased to 84 per cent, making it the second-most active in the south-east for take-up levels, being beaten only by Brighton and Hove. 

Zahir Mohammed, the county council's cabinet member for education and skills, said: "I understand we were seen as under-performing in this area two years ago, so it is wonderful how our early years team has turned things around, and made us the top-rated local authority in this regard among our neighbours.

"More importantly, it means families and their children are reaping the benefits of this care, which can be of real value to their lives," he added.

As more parents choose to take advantage of the scheme, nursery schools are showing improved standards in order to facilitate the increased number of preschoolers. 

In addition to this, the application process has now been simplified with an online form, meaning it is considered much more accessible.

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