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240212 - Flying start

Mum praises significant benefits of Flying Start programme for daughter

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A mum who has benefited from the expansion of the Welsh Government’s Flying Start programme has praised the scheme for the “head start” it has given her youngest child.

Stephanie Thomas’ daughter attends Little Sprouts Day Nursery, in Neath, under the initiative and called the quality of provision “amazing”.

The Welsh Government has achieved its latest target for phase 2 of the expansion of the programme with an extra 4,500 childcare places offered during 2023-24.

The extension of the Flying Start programme is part of a phased expansion of early years provision to all two-year-olds in Wales, with a particular emphasis on strengthening Welsh-medium provision. This is a commitment in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

Flying Start helps families with young children in the most disadvantaged areas of Wales. The current phase of expansion of Flying Start focusses on providing high quality, funded, part-time childcare for children aged two to three living in those areas.

Mrs Thomas said:

“When we first started my daughter had attachment issues, so it was really hard leaving her. But the staff were so great with her, they made it such an easy transition. She absolutely loves going there now.”

Mrs Thomas said she felt her daughter had benefitted significantly from the care she had received thanks to the programme.

She added:

“There has been a huge development in her social skills and communication.”

“She is now getting ready to start half days at school in March, and I know this experience will help immensely with that.”

“If I compare her to my other daughter, who is now at school and didn’t have the free childcare hours, she is miles ahead to what my other daughter was at the time.”

Minister for Mental Health and Early Years, Jayne Bryant said:

“This is a significant milestone in our efforts to give every child in Wales the best possible start in life.”

“Flying Start Childcare is a vital service that helps children to learn, grow and thrive.”

“Through it we are reaching more families who can benefit from this offer and making a positive difference to their lives.”

“We will continue to work closely with local authorities, childcare providers and other partners to ensure the quality and sustainability of Flying Start childcare.”

Plaid Cymru Designated Member Siân Gwenllian said:

“We have an ambitious programme to improve childcare in Wales and I am delighted we are making significant progress on our commitment to offer childcare to all two-year-olds in Wales, with 4,500 childcare places offered as part of the expansion.

“This programme makes such a positive difference to families and the early years of a child’s development and I want to thank the hard work of all those involved in helping us to ensure that younger children in Wales can access childcare. We will continue to work together to deliver our childcare programme.”