Parents looking for childcare solutions will be boosted by the winner of a Department for Education (DfE) competition to help hardworking mums and dads connect with local providers.
Earlier this year, Education and Childcare Minister, Sam Gyimah, launched a competition to find a website or app that would compile everything parents need to know about childcare.
This followed an Ipsos Mori report that found parents struggle to navigate the numerous sources of information online, and that those returning to work should be given as much information as possible, to help them understand their options.
And today (20 October 2015), childcare.co.uk, which is already the UK’s largest online childcare platform, has been named winner of the competition.
Education and Childcare Minister, Sam Gyimah, said:
Childcare is one of the biggest issues facing parents, which is why we are helping hardworking families and giving more people the opportunity to return to work, if they choose to do so.
It is important for families to be able to access as many high quality and flexible options as possible, so that they can make an informed decision on what will work best for them.
I’m excited about working with childcare.co.uk to make this a reality - parents will soon be wondering how they coped without it.
childcare.co.uk will now receive more than £96,000 of government funding to develop brand new features which will enhance what they already offer to around 1.2 million parents.
This includes tools to make it easier for parents to find provision before and after school hours, as well as improved search features which will include specific availability and services, such as those offering free childcare for 2- and 3- and 4-year-olds.
The site will also help parents find out about childcare offers announced by the government, such as the 30 hours free childcare for working parents, and find out whether they will be eligible.
Richard Conway, CEO and Founder of childcare.co.uk, said:
childcare.co.uk are delighted to have been announced the sole winner of the competition and we are very much looking forward to working with the DfE to enhance our existing market leading platform further, in order to make it even easier for parents to find the childcare they require.
The competition was run with Innovate UK through the Small Business Research Initiative - a scheme which enables public sector bodies to connect with innovative ideas and technology businesses.
The initiative is part of a wider commitment by the government to support parents in making the best choices for their children.
The government has increased spending on childcare by £1 billion over the last 5 years.
We are also committed to working closely with the sector to deliver 30 hours of free childcare to working parents, helping them get back to work if they choose to do so.
Notes to editors
Read the Ipsos MORI report on ‘Childcare information for parents’.
Support available for parents:
* all 3- and 3-year-olds already receive 15 hours of free childcare a week.
* the new offer provides the equivalent of 30 hours per week of free childcare over 38 weeks (equivalent to the academic year), making 3- and 4-year-olds with working parents eligible for 1,140 hours of free childcare per year. This will be worth around £5,000 per child per year
* the 2-year-old offer gives 15 hours of free childcare per week over 38 weeks of the year. It is available for the 40% of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. It is worth £2,500 per child per year