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DfE unable to confirm release date of 30-hours pilot results

At a Commons public accounts committee hearing earlier this week, DfE officials were unable to confirm when the results of its 30-hours pilot will be available, Children & Young People now reports.
 
The scheme is being piloted in eight local authorities from September 2016 and is due to go live across the nation a year later.
 
However, when questioned, DfE officials could not confirm that results of the pilot would be released before the official implementation date. Labour MP Meg Hillier claimed that this uncertainty could undermine the scheme’s implementation.
 
“You’re piloting in September 2016 with a view to full implementation in 2017, so by the time you’ve got the pilot going and evaluated it’s not going to be able to give much notice,” Hillier said.
 
“Many [providers], particularly settings that require capital investment, would need to know in good time, many months before [September 2017]. Parents will also be decided whether or not to go back to work and get the 30 hours, and will it be provided locally. If there’s not enough certainty, then you’ve heard from providers that they’re not sure what they’re going to do.”
 
DfE representative Helen Stephenson said that she did not know when the evaluation would be published, “but we obviously want to use the information inform us as we roll the programme out”.
 
Earlier this week, an Alliance survey revealed that nearly half of providers fear closure if the 30-hours scheme goes ahead.