The Department for Education (DfE) has published the latest statistics on the number of 30-hour childcare codes issued and validated up to 28 January for the spring term 2019.

This follows experimental statistics published in December on the use of the scheme in the first term of national rollout.

Since then, there has been a 27% increase in codes validated but there are still around 25,000 eligibility codes that have not yet been validated for the spring term 2019.

The DfE also published figures for the latest local authority breakdown which reveal regional differences in accessing the 30-hour offer. Some areas such as Walsall (78%), Bexley (69%) and Thurrock (67%) show a much higher percentage of eligibility codes still not validated with a provider.

Providers may still validate codes partway through the term but the figures suggest that some parents issued with a code may not have been able to secure a 30-hours place for their child.

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“We know that finding affordable, accessible childcare is a real challenge for many families across the country and to that end, it's very positive to see that the number of parents able to validate their 30-hour eligibility codes remains high.

“That said, these statistics are likely to be of little comfort to the 25,000 families who have applied for 30-hour codes but been unable to validate them. What’s more, it’s clear that the availability of funded places remains a postcode lottery — in some areas of London, more than a quarter of families who have requested a 30-hours code have not been able to access a place. With more and more providers struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising business costs and frozen funding levels, it’s likely that such a squeeze on places will continue to grow in the months ahead.”

Last reviewed 4 February 2019