Parents set to benefit from £6.7m childcare boost to help work life balance

Parents of primary school children are set to benefit from a boost to the number of childcare places in a bid to help them better manage their work life balance.

As part of the government’s national “wraparound” childcare programme, Lancashire County Council has been awarded more than £6.7m to help support schools and other providers to increase the availability of care and activities at either end of the school day. The funding can be used to expand existing services or create entirely new facilities.

Almost £504,000 of that cash pot is ringfenced for the so-called capital costs of creating new places, while the remainder – paid mostly across the 2024-25 and 2025-26 academic years – is designed to ensure providers have the necessary financial support while the demand for wraparound places builds.


The government has said that parents and carers should expect to see an increase in before and after school options for their children from September 2024, with care provided between 8am and 6pm.

Schools and the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector will be able to apply for funding to create or extend wraparound provision in order to support the families of primary school children with decisions about returning to work, taking on new jobs or simply working the hours they wish.

According to a recent meeting of Lancashire County Council’s cabinet – at which the grant funding was accepted – applications for the expansion of wraparound services will be considered ahead of any proposals to establish brand new facilities. Only where expansion by existing providers does not meet a shortfall in places would applications for new services be progressed.

Demand for – and current provision of – wraparound care has been assessed via parent surveys and data supplied by those places already offering it. The current availability has been mapped across the different areas County Hall uses for school place planning purposes.

A number of providers are not currently offering ‘full’ wraparound provision for the extended school day.

Cabinet member for education and skills Jayne Rear told colleagues that the aim was for wraparound services to become “self-sustainable” by March 2026, just ahead of when the revenue funding to support them runs out.