Whilst the Tax-Free Childcare scheme is now a popular choice for many parents using school-run wraparound care, it’s important to remember the Childcare Vouchers scheme, which, despite being closed to new entrants since October 2018, still plays a vital role for those already enrolled. Here’s a closer look at how schools can effectively integrate this scheme into their childcare offerings.
Understanding Childcare Vouchers
Childcare Vouchers (CCVs) were a government-approved, tax-efficient way of paying for childcare. Parents who joined the scheme (before it closed to new entrants in October 2018) could sacrifice part of their salary in exchange for childcare vouchers, thus saving on tax and National Insurance.
The Role Of Schools In Supporting Existing Users
1. Recognise Continued Usage: While new entrants can’t join the Childcare Vouchers scheme, many parents continue to use it. Schools should acknowledge these families and ensure that they are equipped to accept these vouchers.
2. Prepare for Multiple Providers: Unlike Tax-Free Childcare, each parent may use a different CCV Provider (based on their employer’s original choice). Schools should communicate with parents and ensure they hold all of the necessary registrations to accept payments.
3. Facilitate Smooth Transactions: Ensure that your administrative and finance teams are familiar with processing Childcare Vouchers. Smooth handling of these vouchers can significantly ease the burden on parents who rely on this form of payment.
4. Stay Informed: Regulations and policies surrounding such schemes can evolve, particularly in light of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. Stay updated on any changes to CCVs that might affect enrolled families, and communicate these updates promptly.
Advantages for Schools and Families
1. Financial Support for Parents: For those enrolled, Childcare Vouchers offer significant savings. This financial relief can be crucial for families, enabling them to access quality childcare services.
2. Inclusive Environment: By accepting Childcare Vouchers, your school demonstrates a commitment to supporting all families, regardless of the payment schemes they use. This inclusivity can enhance the school’s reputation and community relations.
3. Increased attendance: Accepting Childcare Vouchers makes your wraparound care offer more attractive to families that are able to access this payment method. This may in turn drive attendance numbers and revenue for the school budget.
While the Childcare Vouchers scheme is no longer available to new entrants, its ongoing importance for many families cannot be overstated. By accommodating and supporting this scheme, schools not only provide tangible assistance to families but also maximise their wraparound care’s potential attendance and affirm their commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive educational environment.
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About the Author
Dan McCaffrey is the Managing Director of Childcare Bookings for Schools, the only outsourced payment, bookings and administration service for school-run childcare in the UK. A former primary teacher, he is also the owner of Pioneer Childcare, the 5th largest wraparound provider in the country, where he learned (the hard way!) everything he shares in these blogs. Dan lives in Sussex with his family.
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