Flying Start Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the Flying Start Programme? 

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.


Q2. Is the Flying Start Programme expanding?

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.


Q3. Do you need to live in a Flying Start area to benefit/sign up to the programme?

Yes, you will be able to check if you live in a Flying Start area by accessing the eligible postcode checker:

Flying Start eligible postcode checker

If you find that you are eligible, you can complete a registration form, and apply for your Flying Start childcare place:

What is Flying Start


Q4. What is the eligibility for Flying Start?


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: or Telephone 01685 725000


Q5. How will I know if my child is eligible? 

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. 

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.


Q6. Is Flying Start childcare free?

There will be no cost to parents for the childcare as it is funded by the Welsh Government via the Flying Start programme.


Q7. How many hours of free Flying Start childcare will my child be eligible for?

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).


Q8. Is my child able to access childcare through the medium of Welsh?

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


Q9. What if I work and require extra hours for childcare?

Some settings may be able to offer extra hours of childcare, but you may be charged for anything that exceeds the 12.5 hours.


Q10. Can I split my childcare entitlement over 2 different settings?

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.


Q11. Can I access Flying Start childcare with a Flying Start approved provider outside of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough?

Unfortunately, no. At the moment we are unable to fund Flying Start childcare places outside of the Borough


Q12. What are the benefits of Flying Start childcare?

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.


Q13. Which childcare providers in Merthyr offer Flying Start?

To find out a list of Flying Start, Welsh medium and English medium childcare providers in Merthyr, please contact the Family Information Service on:

Family Information Service - Merthyr Tydfil (

Tel: 01685 727400



Q14. There are no childminders or nurseries within my area with vacancies. What can I do?

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.


Q15. Will there be any childcare support available when my child turns 3 years old?

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:

Welsh Government 30-hour Education/Childcare Offer | | Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council