The government are introducing some new ways to help working parents with their childcare costs. We’ve been working very hard behind the scenes, and attending lots of meetings, to find out the best ways to implement the new opportunities at the nursery.
Firstly, you can now apply for a tax-free online account to help you pay for childcare. For every £8 that you put in, the government will add £2. You can use this scheme if you’re also accessing free hours as well as paid hours, but not if you’re already using childcare vouchers.
Also, if you an eligible working parent, you can apply to extend the 15 free hours you receive after your child has turned three. Our new guidelines are in the Administration|Fees&Policies section here.
After much thought, debate and number-crunching, we have decided to offer a limited number of places with particular criteria. Our aim is to support working parents that need all year-round cover, not just term-time. There appears to be a great deal of flexibility in the terms and conditions, and it is principally the nursery’s decision how we decide to implement the new funding.
We hope to support working parents who qualify for this funding, and need childcare to support their employment. The nursery will offer up to five places for Extended Funding. There will be a waiting list of those who are eligible and the places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
All applicants for the Extended Hours will need to obtain an eligibility code prior to being on the waiting list and a place offered. We can provide information which will help you to apply for your code online. Each term, it is the responsibility of the parent to re-confirm their eligibility for the funding with WSCC.
We are offering Extended Hours to a maximum of 1140 hours a year spread equally over the 47 weeks a year the nursery is open (term-time plus holiday clubs). This works out to 24 hours per week. The start date of the term for Extended Funding for 2017 will be Monday 4th September which is the official start of the West Sussex academic year. Any hours required in addition to the Extended Funding will be charged at the published rates.
There is lots of information on the government’s Childcare Choices website: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
You can also listen to a very informative discussion on Radio 4’s Money Box programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08wmk2n
Extended funding has only very recently been introduced, and we are all on a learning journey to make sure we meet the various requirements. We will do all we can to support you, and help you to make your choices. Please do not hesitate to book a tea and chat to discuss your individual situation.