The evaluation has highlighted a number of benefits and challenges associated with developing, delivering and accessing the Offer.
The findings are overall positive. There are positive indications in terms of parents reporting increased flexibility in the types of jobs they do, the hours they work, and their disposable income. As the evaluation is of the first year, there is very little evidence available to determine impact currently.
The evaluators have recommended the Welsh Government give further consideration to:
- making the application process/proof of eligibility easier and consistent for all working parents
- improving, and possibly, centralising the approach to communications
- providing more and clearer information to help parents work out childcare costs, taking into account child tax credit
- alignment between the provision of childcare and the delivery of Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) in relation to access for parents and funding arrangements.
- working relationships between schools delivering FPN and childcare providers
- elements of delivery including charging for additional hours by providers and the use of the SEN budget by Early Implementer local authorities and providers delivering the offer
- further research to provide conclusive evidence on the impact of the Childcare Offer for Wales.
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