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MS welcomes expansion of ‘game changing’ childcare programme

09 Apr 2022 2 minute read
Siân Gwenllian, the MS for Arfon and Julie Morgan Deputy Minister for Social Services

The Welsh Government’s plan to expand a high-quality childcare programme to an additional 2,500 children under the age of four has been described as a “game changer”.

Siân Gwenllian, the MS for Arfon was commenting on the news that from September the first phase of the expanded Flying Start programme, which currently provides for all two-year olds in Wales, will offer 2–3-year-olds 12.5 hours of high-quality childcare for 39 weeks of the year.

The £20m investment plan, which will place emphasis on improving Welsh medium provision for 0-4 year olds, is a commitment in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan and Siân Gwenllian, the MS for Arfon and Plaid Cymru’s lead designated member for the Co-operation Agreement, said that encouraging children to become bilingual at a young age has proven benefits and will add to the traget of having 1 million Welsh speakers by 2030.

Last year, the Member of the Senedd for Arfon was appointed Lead designated member for Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement. She recently joined the Welsh Government Minister Julie Morgan to announce the expansion.

Game changer

She said: “Free childcare for all from 24 months was an integral part of Plaid Cymru’s manifesto in 2021.

“Seeing that ambition come to fruition is very positive and is testament to the benefits of having a collaborative approach in politics.

“This announcement will see an additional £20m in funding being allocated over the next three years to support the expansion, making childcare more accessible to families in Wales.

“The expansion of the Flying Start programme is a game changer, not just in providing early years education and childcare for all children in Wales, but in improving Welsh-medium childcare provision.

“It is well-established that language learning is easiest when young, and the benefits that multilingualism can grant a child are endless. That’s why the announcement made recently about the focus on strengthening Welsh-medium childcare is integral to the 1 million Welsh Speakers by 2050 vision.

“I hope these sorts of announcements will become a regular part of the day-to-day running of Wales, showing how practical, cooperative politics can deliver real, game changing policies for families across Wales.

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