Frequently Asked Questions - Flying Start & Flying Start Phased Expansion
Frequently Asked Questions
Flying Start is the Welsh Government targeted Early Years programme for families with children under 4 years in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Wales. The 4 core elements of the programme are drawn from a range of options that have been shown to influence positive outcomes for children and their families.
- Free quality, part-time childcare for 2-3 year olds;
- An enhanced Health Visiting service;
- Access to Parenting Programmes;
- Early Language Development.
Yes, the Flying Start programme is expanding, and eventually all families in Merthyr will be eligible. The programme will be expanded using a phased approach. Phase 1 of the expansion was rolled out in September 2022, and eligible families were entitled to all 4 core elements of the programme as outlined in Q1 above.
Phase 2(a & b) of the Flying Start expansion was rolled out in April 2023, however eligible families that live in the Phase 2 (a & b) expansion postcodes will only be entitled to the childcare element of the Flying Start programme.
Future expansion phases are yet to be announced.
To check if you live in a Flying Start area, please access the link in Question 3 below.
Yes, you will be able to check if you live in a Flying Start area by accessing the eligible postcode checker:
If you find that you are eligible, you can complete a registration form, and apply for your Flying Start childcare place:
You must live in a designated Flying Start postcode area. (see above)
If you live in one of the “original” Flying Start areas, or the Phase 1 expansion area, your child will be eligible to access all elements of the programme from birth to 4 years old.
If you live in one of the Phase 2 areas, then your child will only be entitled to the childcare element of the programme from the term after their 2nd birthday, until the term of their 3rd birthday.
If you have any queries about your eligibility and what you are entitled to access, then please contact the Flying Start team via email: Flyingstart@merthyr.gov.uk or Telephone 01685 725000
You can check if you live in a Flying Start eligible postcode area by accessing our postcode eligibility checker:
If you live in an Original or Phase 1 expansion area, your Health Visitor should inform you at your child’s birth visit or if you move into a Flying Start area at your initial transfer in visit. At these visits they should encourage you to register with the programme via the above online form.
At your child’s 15 month visit your health visit will encourage you to apply for your child’s free childcare place. Information on what providers are available in your area can be found via the Family Information Service website Merthyr FIS
If you live in a Phase 2 expansion area, you can register with the programme, and apply for your childcare place online. (link below)
Your child will be eligible for Flying Start childcare from the term after their 2nd birthday to the term of their 3rd birthday.
To ensure that your child’s application is processed in timely manner, please ensure both the registration form and the childcare application form are completed.
Once your application is received an automated email is sent, the Flying Start Central team will liaise with the childcare setting of your choice to make sure they are able to accommodate your child (unless your child is already attending and recently become FS eligible) and confirm your child’s place. If however, the setting is unable to accommodate your child, then the Flying Start team will work with you to find an alternative.
There will be no cost to parents for the childcare as it is funded by the Welsh Government via the Flying Start programme.
If eligible, your child will be entitled to a maximum of 12.5 hours of funded childcare per week. Sessions are typically offered at 2.5 hours per day for 5 days per week, Monday to Friday. However, some settings may be able to accommodate different hours based on your needs. Some settings may offer 5 hours in one day, but we suggest that your child has lunch break after 2.5 hours.
Childcare is offered term time only (39 weeks of the year).
Yes there are a number of Cylch Meithrins (Welsh medium preschools) in Merthyr, to find out where these are located, please contact the Family Information Service or email the Flying Start team on Flyingstart@merthyr.gov.uk
Some settings may be able to offer extra hours of childcare, but you may be charged for anything that exceeds the 12.5 hours.
You may be able to split your childcare across 2 settings, this will depend on if there is the availability of the hours/days that you require in both settings. Both settings must be located in Merthyr, be Flying Start approved and to access the split funded place must not exceed 12.5hours in total.
Unfortunately, no. At the moment we are unable to fund Flying Start childcare places outside of the Borough
Flying Start childcare is high quality. Staff are highly qualified, or working towards the highest qualification that is required for Flying Start.
Research shows that children who attend quality early years settings are more independent, concentrate on their play for longer and, on entry to school, are more co-operative and better prepared for the challenges they meet.
In Welsh-medium early years settings, children have access to the added benefits that come from being bilingual, such as an increased ability to focus, higher cognitive function and improved social and cultural relations. Children that are able to switch between languages, can often develop more flexible approaches to thinking through problems.
Children will benefit from spending time in a safe, nurturing environment with their peers.
The funded childcare may also enable parents to work or access training and education opportunities that may not have otherwise been possible.
To find out a list of Flying Start, Welsh medium and English medium childcare providers in Merthyr, please contact the Family Information Service on:
Tel: 01685 727400
If you have difficulty, finding a nursery or childminder that offers the funded childcare hours then contact the Family Information Service at your local authority. They will provide you with a list of all the providers in your area.
As Flying Start expands, there may be limited places available in your area and you may have to access childcare in a provision that is outside your immediate locality.
You may be eligible to access the Childcare Offer Wales once your child turns 3 years old. Eligibility applies, for more information please access the link below: