“The eligibility criteria for 30 hours is very confusing. It doesn’t make any sense that those who are unemployed or looking for work can’t access the extra hours.”
Eva Marston from Lewisham is mum to Reuben, 3, and Ivy, 2 months.
Both Eva and her husband are accountants. When she was made redundant from her job during the pandemic, she took on a contact that is due to finish soon. During her contract, she went on maternity leave.
The family currently qualify for 30 hours funded childcare for Reuben, but they are worried that when Eva’s contract ends, they will only meet the criteria for 15 hours. This will make looking for a new role more difficult.
Eva said: “Going to nursery has made a huge difference to Reuben and his development. Lockdown had such a negative impact, but at nursery he gets the vital socialisation with children his own age. He’s made friends, is learning how to interact, and is meeting children from all kinds of backgrounds.
“The consistency, community and learning that Reuben gets from nursery can’t be underestimated. He has been tracing letters, learning to sit down and eat with others, and getting into the routine of a structured environment. I really feel nursery will help him be ready for school next year.
“The eligibility criteria for 30 hours is very confusing. It doesn’t make any sense that those who are unemployed or looking for work can’t access the extra hours. I’m not sure what will happen when my contract ends – the system is just too complex to navigate.
“Reuben attends nursey 4 days a week and we pay around £840 a month, even with the 30 funded hours. It’s very difficult for many families to make it work.”