Monmouthshire parents and carers will be able to access the new The Childcare Offer from January 2019. The Welsh Government funded scheme providing 30 hours a week of free education and childcare for eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks of the year.
Who will deliver the offer?
Eligible parents will be allowed to take up their childcare with any registered childcare provider that suits their personal and family circumstance, whether inside or outside of the county, so long as the setting is registered with CIW (or Ofsted if the setting is in England) and has agreed to take part in the offer.
When can families access the offer?
The offer will begin from the term after a child’s third birthday until they are offered a full time education place – aligning with the FPN provision.
Parents can take up the childcare offer at any point during this time period, so long as they are eligible to do so. Parents should be able to access the offer from whichever point they wish during that term, providing their child was eligible from the beginning of that term, or earlier. This includes parents who move into the area or gain employment.
Children will no longer be eligible to take-up the childcare offer from the point at which they are offered a full time education place by their local authority.
Summary of the offer
The offer is a maximum of 30 hours a week of early education and childcare for eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks of the year.
During term time the 30 hours will consist of a combination of the existing FPN provision open to all 3 and 4 year olds and the additional funded childcare for eligible families. During the 9 weeks of holiday entitlement, the full 30 hours can be taken up as childcare.
Foundation Phase Nursery provision can be accessed in an LA Nursery or with a non-maintained approved provider. Parents are not required to access their early education entitlement as a prerequisite to them accessing the childcare element of the offer, however, their entitlement during term time will include these hours whether they access them or not.
Who can access the offer?
To access the childcare element of the offer parents and guardians must:
-Be employed or self-employed. Both parents must be working in a two parent family, or the sole parent in a lone parent family. Where parents have separated, the parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the offer (if they meet the eligibility criteria). Where parents share equal custody one parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the offer.
-Earn a weekly minimum equivalent of 16 hours at the national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW) (around £111 and £115 a week at the current 21-24 NMW and NLW rate respectively).
-Parents who earn the equivalent of 16 hours wk or more (NMW/NLW), but less than £100k per year.
Parents will need to prove they are working a minimum of 16 hours a week, through their earnings.
Where parents have separated but do not share equal custody of the child, the parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the offer (if they meet the eligibility criteria). Where parents share equal custody, one parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the offer.
Parents, guardians, step-parents and live-in parents will all need to meet the eligibility criteria in order for a child living within the household to be able to take up the offer.
Parents on parental leave can apply for the childcare offer if they meet the eligibility criteria prior to statutory parental leave. Eligibility for the childcare offer, however, is only during the period of statutory parental leave.
What happens if I or my partner loses our job?
Should a parent fall out of eligibility, a temporary exemption period of 8 weeks will be granted during which they will be able to continue to access the offer.
Exceptions to Eligibility
There are some circumstances in which parents will be able to access the offer when they don't meet the eligibility criteria. These are:
-where one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay or are in receipt of statutory maternity/paternity pay.
-where one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits or has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring:
-kinship carers, family and friend's carers who have taken responsibility for a child or step chid who is not their own because:
- the child has no parents or has parents who are unable to care for the child.
- it is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority because of concerns in relation to the child's welfare.
How am I able to use the hours of childcare?
Is there a limit to the number of providers that can be used to access the offer any given day?
Parents can access funding with a maximum of two registered childcare providers in addition to their Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) setting in any given day.
During the holiday period a child may access funding with a maximum of two registered providers under the offer.
Are there limits to the days, the times of day and the amount of hours the offer can be accessed?
The parent can access the childcare element of the offer at any point they wish, however, it is the responsibility of the parent to find childcare providers who can accommodate the requirements.
Can parents accrue their hours?
No. Parents will be provided with a total of 30 hours a week of combined FPN provision and childcare with parents choosing how much of the 30 hours to take up. Any hours not used in a week will be lost
How many weeks of the year does the offer cover?
How will the offer work outside of term time?
The childcare offer will cover up to 48 weeks per year. Foundation Phase Nursery Provision is available for 39 weeks per year; therefore eligible parents will be able to access 30 hours of childcare for the remaining 9 weeks of the year.
Eligible parents can access their 9 weeks of holiday provision whenever they choose, however, it is the parent's responsibility to find a provider that offers the provision that best suits their needs. Parents will need to access their provision in week long blocks. Hours of childcare cannot be accrued across weeks.
What do Childcare Providers receive?
What is the rate of pay for providers under the offer?
All providers will receive a rate of £4.50 per hour for children receiving the offer. This rate excludes food. Providers can therefore charge additional fees to parents for food; however, this cannot exceed more than £7.50 per day. Providers can also charge for activities and transport, such as trips off site that may incur an additional cost or pick ups/drop offs.
Providers cannot charge hourly top-up rates if they would normally charge more than £4.50 per hour.
Please note that deposits/retainers/holiday pay (for childminders) may still apply and you should talk to your childcare provider about this before entering a contact with them.
How do parents apply?
Parents are responsible for finding suitable childcare to meet their individual needs and to secure a provisional space with their chosen childcare provider.
There is an online application form that must be completed.
For children born between 1st September 2014 and 31st December 2015, the application process will be available soon (For children born after 1st January 2016, the dates of application will be available in due course.)
Please note that there is no rush to apply. The online application will be available until Christmas, there is no first come first served system - as long as you have made arrangements with your Childcare Provider(s) for your child's place, your application will be approved. We envisage a high volume of people applying on the 19th, please be patient as we negotiate a brand new system and deal with enquiries.
Before you apply, please make sure you have with you:
Child's Birth certificate
Current Council Tax Payment Form
Employed: Last three month's wage slips (for both parents) or letter from employer confirming maternity, paternity or sick leave.
Self-Employed: self assessment form for previous financial year (or letter confirming self-employment if in first year.)
Exceptional Circumstances: Evidence of incapacity benefit, carers allowance, severe disablement allowance or employment and support allowance.
If you have any questions or queries about the childcare offer in general, please send an email to [email protected]
If you have any technical difficulties when completing the online form, please email [email protected]
For Childcare Providers:
To register for the Childcare Offer, please download the application form below.