Schools providing wraparound childcare play a pivotal role in supporting their community. Understanding the various schemes available to help families manage childcare costs can allow schools to extend this support, by making their childcare offer as affordable as possible. We provide a breakdown below of the 5 key schemes that schools should be aware of.
1. Tax-Free Childcare Scheme
What is it? This government initiative assists parents by topping up their childcare payments. For every £8 a parent deposits into their account, the government adds £2 (up to £2,000 per child, per year).
Schools should: Register for the scheme (against the school’s existing Ofsted number), then encourage parents to assess their eligibility and take advantage if possible.
2. Childcare Vouchers
What is it? Although closed to new entrants since October 2018, this scheme allows parents that are already registered to pay for childcare from their pre-tax salary, resulting in savings.
Schools should: Be aware that some parents may still be using this scheme. Ensure they are registered with all relevant Childcare Voucher providers to accept payments where applicable.
3. Universal Credit
What is it? Parents receiving Universal Credit can claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs, offering substantial support for lower-income families.
Schools should: Provide information and guidance on how parents can claim these costs through Universal Credit. Offer payment receipts in a format that meets Universal Credit requirements.
4. MOD’s Wraparound Childcare Scheme
What is it? Tailored for military families, this scheme offers completely free childcare for children aged 4-11 years, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by service families.
Schools should: Actively promote the scheme; in particular if the school is located nearby to a military base or has a high number of service families in the community.
5. Childcare Grant Scheme for Students
What is it? This is a vital resource for full-time students with children, covering up to 85% of childcare costs during both term time and holidays.
Schools should: Engage with student parents, particularly those in higher education, to inform them about this grant. Guidance and support with the application processes can be a significant help.
All schools offering wraparound childcare should actively seek to inform parents about the schemes available to support with the associated costs. Not only is this a way to offer support to the school community by easing the financial burden of accessing wraparound care; but it can also increase attendance by making the service more affordable, thus maximising the school’s revenue.
As part of the service we offer to schools, we register and fully manage each of these different schemes on their behalf. If you think your school might be interested in our service, please do get in touch with us for a friendly chat and some more information.
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About Childcare Bookings
Childcare Bookings provide our school partners with a fully outsourced booking, payment and admin service, together with a booking system that is taking bookings for you 24/7 – and even your own dedicated administrator to support parents.
In addition, we provide an Operations Pack, including template T’s & C’s, a best-practice Club Operations Manual, policies and childcare-specific forms and procedures.
Why not get in touch to see if we can help you?
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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