MORE families in the town will benefit from the creation of over 170 new childcare places thanks to a near £500,000 boost by the Government announced today.

Early Years Minister Caroline Dinenage outlined the plans for the £54m capital grants scheme this morning which aims to reinforce the government’s investment to help nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups invest in new buildings and upgrade facilities.

Nationally, it is anticipated that the grant scheme will deliver more than 9,000 additional childcare places – helping deliver on the government’s commitment to give working families 30 hours free childcare from September.

In Swindon, grants worth £479,500 will be awarded to four providers to create over 170 new childcare places. They include Chiseldon Primary School and Nursery, Playsteps Nursery, Lainsmead Primary School and Nursery and Uplands Educational Trust (UET) and the Brunel Special Educational Needs Multi Academy Trust (SEN MAT).

The funding has been awarded as a result of bids submitted by Swindon Borough Council to the Government last August.

Swindon was just one of eight areas in the country that took part in a scheme as an early implementer which saw parents of three and four-year-olds offered 30 hours of childcare since September — one year ahead of the national roll out.

Minister Caroline Dinenage was able to see first hand how the scheme has already helped parents when she visited the town back in November, speaking to staff at the Co-operative Nursery at the Great Western Hospital.

Brunel SEN MAT and Uplands Educational Trust will work with the council to increase the opportunities for three and four-year-old children with special educational needs in Swindon.

Jackie Smith, CEO of Brunel SEN MAT and Uplands Educational Trust, said: “Currently a high proportion of three and four year olds with SEN don’t have the opportunity to access the 30 hours child care on offer which means their parents or carers are unable to return to work.

“Young children with SEN can make rapid progress with specialist early intervention - that is what we are aiming to do.

“Swindon Portage and Special Tots are doing a fantastic job but their time and resource has to be spread so thinly, we would want to work collaboratively to deliver more provision to more children.“We want equality for our families with children with SEN and also to improve outcomes for these children through specialist early intervention.”

Jo Morris, nursery manager at Playsteps, said: “We are really pleased to have the opportunity to be working with the local authority in the coming weeks to try and take the plans forward.

“The funding announcement is a really positive thing for Swindon and it very much needed.”

The funding boost has been welcomed by council officials including cabinet member for children’s services Coun Fionuala Foley.

She said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant, which will create additional childcare places to meet demand for the 30 hours free childcare policy. Each project is very different and will offer working families greater choice and flexibility to access high quality provision in Swindon.

“Evidence has shown through our early implementation work that demand for places will be high, so the opportunity to create an additional 170 places, including 30 with a specific focus towards children with complex needs, is extremely timely.”

Minister Caroline Dineage added: “In my visits around the country I have heard from families whose lives have been improved by access to 30 hours. As part of our Plan for Britain we want to make this a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few, so that means removing the barriers facing parents struggling to balance their jobs with the cost of childcare.

“This investment will deliver more childcare places to working parents, giving them the benefits of 30 hours free childcare whilst giving their children high-quality early education that sets them up for life. This is backed by our record £6 billion investment in childcare per year by 2020.”

Successful providers will begin building works later this year and will be completed by spring 2018. For more details visit