Have your say on changes to early morning school care

Date: 05/07/2017

Gwynedd residents are invited to have their say on proposals to change the way early morning childcare is provided in the county’s primary schools.

 At present, 75 Gwynedd primary schools offer early morning childcare between 8am and 8.50am. As part of this scheme, the Welsh Government free school breakfast initiative is delivered.

 Due to the huge financial pressure facing Gwynedd Council as a result of cuts in funding received from the government, reducing the amount spent on early morning school childcare was one of the options put forward as part of the Gwynedd Challenge public consultation exercise. As the proposal was not prioritised by local people as a service that should be protected, the Council has been looking at ways in which it can deliver the required £100,000 saving whilst continuing to offer free primary school breakfasts.

 The two options under consideration are:

 -       providing free school breakfasts between 8.25am and 8.50am, but doing away with the free school childcare which is provided between 8am and 8.25am;

-       providing free school breakfasts between 8.25am and 8.50am and introducing a fee for providing childcare to those who want it between 8am and 8.25am.If this option was chosen, no fee would be charged for the free school breakfast between 8.25am and 8.50am.

 Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Education said:

 “As every resident knows, the amount of funding the Council receives to deliver local services has been cut dramatically by the government over a number of years. Sadly, these painful cuts are forecast to continue and intensify between now and 2020 whilst the pressure on local services continues to rise.

 “Following a comprehensive public consultation, the Council approved a series of service cuts and savings back in March 2016 that were firmly based on what local people had told us. The final list that was approved by the full Council included a way in which the Council could continue to provide free school breakfasts, but at a reduced cost to the Council.

 “We have looked at ways in which other councils have made changes to the service whilst continuing to deliver free school breakfasts as at present, and we have identified two possible ways forward for Gwynedd.

 “We are now inviting residents and parents of primary school pupils in particular, to have their say on their preferred option by filling in a short questionnaire – either on the Council website or by filling a paper questionnaire available in local libraries and Siop Gwynedd. Letters will also be distributed to parents through the schools over the coming weeks urging them to complete the survey.”

 Local people will have until 1 September 2017 to fill in the survey, and the responses will be considered in full before a report on a recommended way forward is presented to the Council Cabinet in October 2017. To access the survey, visit: www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/breakfast-club