Expanding Access to Government Funded Childcare:

A Significant Step for Working Families

Significant expansions in government funded childcare have been announced, aimed at making it easier for parents to balance their careers and family life.

Current Eligibility and Upcoming Changes:

Currently, parents who work and earn the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the National Minimum Wage, earning less than £100,000 adjusted net income per year, are entitled to 30 hours of free childcare a week for children aged three to four. The government is now expanding this scheme to include children from age 9 months, with the roll out beginning in stages starting April 2024.

Application Timeline and Process:

In the first phase of the government funded childcare, eligible working parents of two-year-olds will receive 15 hours of free childcare per week from April 2024. Applications will open on 2 January 2024, and parents will need to reconfirm their eligibility every three months. The government recommends applying between mid-January and the end of February to avoid needing to reconfirm eligibility immediately before the offer starts in April. Applications can be made via the Childcare Choices website.

By September 2024, the 15 hours of free childcare will extend to all children from the age of nine months. From September 2025, working parents of children under the age of five will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare per week.

Eligibility for ‘Working’ Parents:

Working parents who individually earn more than £8,670 but less than £100,000 adjusted net income per year are eligible. For couples, both must earn at least this amount, and neither can earn more than £100,000. Detailed criteria are available on the Childcare Choices website, which covers various situations such as irregular working hours or receiving certain benefits.

Supporting Nurseries and Childcare Availability:

To ensure adequate government funded childcare places, the government is investing over £400 million in 2024-25 to increase the hourly rates paid to local authorities. The national average rates for 2024-25 will be £11.22 for under twos, £8.28 for two-year-olds, and £5.88 for three- and four-year-olds.

How to Apply for Free Childcare:

Parents can apply for 30 hours of government funded childcare by signing into their government childcare account, accessible here. A Government Gateway user ID is required for login.

This expanded childcare scheme represents the government's commitment to supporting families and ensuring accessible, quality childcare for all. Read our previous blog for more information

Exciting Changes in Childcare: Understanding the UK's New Funding for Preschool

Introduction: Are you a parent navigating the complexities of childcare in the UK? Big changes are on the horizon! The government's recent announcement about increased funding for preschool education is set to revolutionize childcare for families across the country. Let's dive into what this means for you and your little ones.

New Funding?

In a landmark decision, the UK government has committed to investing over £8 billion annually in free hours and early education by 2027-2028, making it the largest ever investment in childcare in England. This transformative reform aims to support working families, empowering parents to progress in their careers while ensuring their children receive quality early education.

Key Changes and Dates:

  1. From April 2024: All working parents of 2-year-olds will be entitled to 15 hours of free childcare per week.
  2. From September 2024: This extends to all working parents of children aged 9 months to 3 years.
  3. From September 2025: Eligible parents can access 30 hours of free childcare per week for children aged 9 months to 3 years.

These changes are being introduced in phases, ensuring a smooth transition and allowing parents and childcare providers to adapt effectively.

Increased Funding for Nurseries:

Alongside these new entitlements, nurseries will receive additional funding. Starting from September 2023, the national average funding rate for 2-year-olds will increase by 30% to around £8 per hour, and the rate for 3 to 4-year-olds will rise in line with inflation. This increase ensures better quality care and education for our youngest learners.

What This Means for Your Family:

These changes are more than just numbers; they represent a significant step towards more accessible and higher-quality childcare. As parents, this could mean more flexibility in your work life, financial savings, and the peace of mind that your child is receiving excellent early education.

Finding More Information:

For detailed information about new funding changes and how they apply to your specific circumstances, visit Gov.uk's official page on Early Education Entitlements and Funding.

Conclusion:

As we embrace these changes, it's an exciting time for families and childcare providers alike. With the government's new funding scheme, early years education in the UK is set to become more accessible and of higher quality than ever before. Stay informed and make the most of these opportunities for your children's bright future.