County Councillor Joan Stocker Cabinet Spokesperson for Education has stressed the importance of early years education following the recent announcement from the Government regarding more 3 year olds benefiting from free early education. 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 can make progress towards our target of increasing provision for the young three year olds during the spring term of 2004."
The Children's Information Service (CIS) provides information about early years provision in Cumbria. It provides parents and carers with information about the current availability of early education and registered childcare in the local area. It can also offer information to people wishing to work in early education or childcare. For more information on early years and childcare provision or advice and grants available call the CIS free phone number 08457 125 737.