If you're anything like me then you won't have been going through the Queen's Speech with a fine toothed comb to see what was in store from the new Conservative Government, but the headlines about the doubling of free childcare provision may well have caught your attention.
The big announcement for parents was that the government funded childcare provision for pre-school children aged 3 and 4 will double from 15 hours a week to 30 hours a week for working parents. Headline grabbing for sure, but how will it work?
At present the 15 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds is almost universal, but the extra 15 hours that are promised will be available if both parents are working. The details are still unclear but there have been suggestions that there will be an upper income limit for this extra so that high earners will not receive the extra childcare.
The plans were to bring this new scheme into place in September 2017, but it's now planned to come in to force from September 2016, a whole year early. Such a massive change will impact small independent nurseries as well as larger school schemes, and with some operating in community centres and on a very small scale how will they expand to provide all the extra childcare? And of course there have been challenges from the opposition on where the funding will come from, and claims that the £350 million pledged by the government for the new scheme will not be enough.
The move is to encourage more stay at home parents back in to work, so would the extra childcare encourage you to look for employment? There are many questions to be answered about the funding and implementation, but as private childcare in the UK is the some of the most expensive in Europe something clearly need to be done to assist working parents.
What do you think of the plans? Let us know in the comments or over on our Facebook page.