School childcare charges for Gwynedd parents

Gwynedd parents will be charged by schools for dropping their children off early at school from next month.

Councillors agreed on Tuesday to charge parents 80p for early morning childcare at 75 primary schools across the county – but breakfasts offered to pupils will remain free.

The free school breakfasts – introduced across Wales in 2004 – were ratified by Welsh Government legislation nine years later. But last year, Gwynedd County Council agreed to cut £100,000 from its budget, including £29,000 for staff childcare.

A report, discussed by the cabinet on Tuesday, stated most parents preferred to pay for childcare and maintain the current breakfast club hours, according to a public consultation which received over 1400 responses.

The 80p charge will be introduced from Monday 6th November, but it’s hoped parents with three or more children in primary school will be offered a reduced fee.

Last week, the cabinet member for Education, Councillor Gareth Thomas said: ”Gwynedd residents are aware that the amount of funding the council receives to deliver local services has been cut substantially by the government for a number of years. With no sign that this is likely to change in the near future, it is inevitable that the council considers various ways of bridging the financial gap in some areas if we are to continue to offer services to the public.

”As part of these efforts, introducing savings to the early morning childcare scheme has been identified as one of the options. It should be made clear that this does not mean any changes to the free breakfast element which is offered in schools across the county.”