The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ childcare scheme for students is a step closer to reality today after the Welsh Government has announced it has identified a preferred organisation to run the scheme.
In budget negotiations with the Welsh Government in 2014, the Welsh Liberal Democrats secured £400,000 for a pilot scheme to support students who are parents and who are struggling with the cost of childcare.
The Welsh Government has confirmed that “expressions of interest were received from a number of organisations and following an assessment process, we have identified a preferred bid. We will be undertaking the usual discussions on the terms of appointment and contractual arrangements over the Christmas period. Subject to their satisfactory conclusion, the preferred bidder will be formally appointed in the New Year and I will update Assembly Members accordingly.”
Aled Roberts AM for North Wales and Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education said:
“Welsh Liberal Democrats used our influence to support students who are also parents.
“Research has shown that students who are parents are among the worst off financially. They often do not have enough money to meet basic living costs and are less likely to receive support from their families compared to other students.
“In England the targeted childcare scheme ‘Care to Learn’ is available to any student parent aged under 20 at the start of their course. NUS research in England found that 77% of recipients said they could not attend learning without Care to Learn.
“In our budget deal with the Welsh Government, we secured funding for a pilot study to support Welsh students who are parents. We welcome progress on this work confirmed by the Government that a feasibility study will shortly be launched to inform the proposed pilot in 2016-17. This scheme will help ensure that young parents are not held back from studying by the cost of childcare.”
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The Welsh Liberal Democrats secured funding for a £50,000 feasibility study and £0.4m pilot scheme to support students who are parents with the cost of childcare.
The feasibility study will determine what further support to young parents to help them return to further education, where childcare is a barrier, is needed. The feasibility study will be used to inform the proposed pilot in 2016-17.