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Have you got a golden ticket?

Thursday, 19th November 2015.

Suffolk County Council has launched a ‘Golden Ticket’ campaign, informing parents of eligible 2 year olds they are entitled to 570 hours of free childcare a year, equalling up to 15 hours per week during term time or fewer hours per week stretched over the whole year.

The Department for Education has given Suffolk County Council a take up target of 2586 2 year olds. Currently, 1908 are taking a place which represents 74% of the eligible 2 year old children in Suffolk.

Currently 2 year olds who meet the eligibility criteria are entitled to up to 15 hours of free early education from the term after their second birthday right up until they start school. This scheme is an extension of the 15 hours of early education per week during term time, offered to all 3 and 4 year olds.

This month Suffolk County Council’s Early Years and Childcare Service have started issuing Golden Tickets to eligible families (via post) to let them know that they qualify for free childcare.

The non-transferable Golden Tickets will include a unique reference number which can be used with any childminder, nursery or preschool that is registered with Ofsted and rated either “good” or “outstanding”. If parents want to attend a childcare provider that is rated “requires improvement” an additional eligibility check will be required.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Cabinet member for Children’s Services said: "The early years of a child's education are the most important. We need to make sure that parents across Suffolk are aware of this additional support on offer for their child’s development.

“This will ultimately help children get the best possible start in life. It could also give parents the chance to spend a bit more time with younger children, take up a college course or go back to work.

“Early learning and childcare is great for children, they can learn through play, make new friends, try different activities and get a good start to their education”

Parents may still be eligible for 2 year old funding even if they did not receive a golden ticket. Eligibility can also be checked online at www.suffolk.gov.uk/two.

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