Cumbria's Early Years Development & Childcare Partnership (CEYDCP) has developed a long term strategic plan which will have a major impact on the growth of local childcare provision and bring about improvements in the quality of all childcare and early education in Cumbria.
In its 1 year Implementation Plan for 2003-2004, CEYDCP has set out how it will work towards achieving the long term targets in the provision of childcare. The childcare provision is for children aged 0 to 14 or aged 16 for children with special needs. The Plan has been formally approved by Baroness Ashton on behalf of the Government. Key targets set by CEYDCP for 2003-2004 are focused on:
County Councillor Joan Stocker, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education is pleased with the progress already made in meeting these targets and is confident that Cumbria can drive forward a rapid expansion of childcare to meet the need of parents in the area. She says
"Cumbria County Council has a strong commitment to growing and improving childcare services and early education in Cumbria. Access to good nursery education and childcare are essential to contribute to the well-being of families and educational progress and there has never been such a demand for childcare as there is now. However parents and children want to use childcare that is good quality, affordable and meets their needs.
Cumbria has always been ahead of the game. We already provide free part time early education for all four year olds or whose parents want it and parents in this area can receive nursery education in nursery classes for the full school year. Our budget this year has put in extra funding for three year olds to receive nursery class sessions in the term after their third birthday. The National Childcare Strategy is creating new childcare places for children in nurseries, pre-schools, childminders, and out of school clubs and we have already seen the development of many more childcare providers across this area. We know that nursery education makes a real difference and officers assure me that we are making good progress towards our target of increasing provision for the young three year olds during the spring term of 2004."
Jane Williamson, Early Years and Childcare Manager says
"We have set demanding targets for this year, but we are already making good progress towards achieving them. Working in partnership with all types of childcare providers right across the county, our aim is to put childcare and early years education at the top of the agenda in the county so that all parents and their children can benefit from high quality, local provision that meets their needs."