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New national helpline for parents launched

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Today's blog looks at the launch of StarLine, a new national helpline for parents, and early years funding.


Today, 24 April, STAR Academies Trust has launched a new national helpline for parents called StarLine. The service will be a free telephone helpline offering parents and carers personalised advice and support from a team of qualified teachers, education and parenting experts.

The launch of the helpline was covered in the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Guardian, all noting that the service is supported by the Department for Education and backed by Mumsnet.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

StarLine represents another inspiring example of teachers and education experts working together to share their knowledge, resources and expertise with schools and families across the country.

Following the launch of Oak National Academy, the publication of guidance for parents and a collection of high quality resources, and the Government’s commitment to provide laptops and tablets for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, this is a welcome addition to the support available to help children learn from home.

Early Years

This week the Department for Education announced that councils will be able to move around government funding for free childcare entitlements in exceptional circumstances.

This will support councils to make sure sufficient childcare places are available for vulnerable children and those of critical workers, and builds on existing commitments to continue paying free entitlement funding – worth £3.6 billion a year – to local authorities throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government has provided unprecedented support for childcare businesses in recognition of their vital role in the country’s response to this virus, so it is only fair that early years employers do not receive two public funding streams to pay the same staff costs. They will be able to furlough staff and access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in line with the proportion of their salary bill paid for from private income, such as parents’ fees.

Nurseries and early years settings can benefit from support including:

  • a business rates holiday
  • a £10,000 grant for businesses too small to pay business rates, and
  • the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self Employment Income Support Schemes.


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