Don’t miss free childcare deadline, Sheffield parents warned


Sheffield parents are being warned they could lose hundreds of hours of free childcare if they miss the application deadline.

Sunflower Children’s Centre, on Carter Hall Road, Charnock, is booking advisory sessions with parents to ensure they get their free early learning applications in on time.

Eligible parents can now apply for up to 30 hours free childcare a week for children aged three and four years old.

However, they are being advised to start planning as early as possible, or they could miss out on up to four months’ worth of entitlement if their application is delayed, says Karen Simpkin.

The owner of Sunflower Children’s Centre and Chair of the Sheffield branch of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is offering help to ensure parents don’t miss out.

She said: “There are now only 10 weeks to the deadline this September and with a government electronic registration system that keeps crashing and is difficult to navigate the time will soon run out.

“If parents miss this window, they must wait until the following term to get funding.

“30 hours free early learning is supposed to help parents return to work but if they miss the deadline that’s another four months of waiting – when they could be earning for their family.

“As a childcare provider, we want to offer our help to parents who are worried about or struggling with the application process. That’s why we’re offering sit down sessions with Sheffield parents to discuss their eligibility and go through the process step-by-step.”

Parents may begin their application for 30 hours free early learning 12 weeks before their child’s third birthday.

The application must be confirmed no later than:

31st August for a funded place from 1st September

31st December for a funded place from 1st January

31st March for a funded place from 1st April.

Parents can get further information and arrange an advisory session with Karen and the team at Sunflower Children’s Centre by visiting and completing the online enquiry form.