How schools can access £289m of new government funding via the Wraparound Pathfinder Scheme

The Wraparound Childcare Pathfinder Scheme, backed by a substantial £289 million government fund, offers a tangible opportunity for schools and MATs to bolster and extend their childcare services. Available funding will be allocated specifically for facilitating the establishment, expansion and/or improvement of extended childcare services – which will be most applicable to schools and MATs operating (or planning to open) wraparound care ‘in-house’.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the practical steps schools and MATs should take to access and maximise this funding for financial and operational benefits.

Accessing Pathfinder Funding: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Eligibility assessment:Begin by thoroughly understanding the eligibility criteria outlined in the scheme’s guidelines. Assess your school or MAT’s capacity to provide or expand wraparound childcare ‘in-house’.

2. Proposal development: Craft a detailed proposal outlining how the funding will be utilised. Address plans for extending hours (if opening new provision) or capacity (if expanding existing provision), additional staff and resource enhancements.

3. Financial planning: Clearly outline how the funds will be allocated and managed. Develop a comprehensive financial plan that aligns with the goals of the scheme, demonstrating fiscal responsibility and sustainability.

4. Engagement with Local Authorities: Foster communication and collaboration with local authorities. Establishing strong partnerships can strengthen your proposal and demonstrate a commitment to a cohesive approach within the community.

5. Training and development plans: Detail plans for staff training and development. Ensure your team is equipped to deliver high-quality wraparound care by investing in relevant professional development opportunities.

6. Quality Assurance measures: Incorporate quality assurance measures in your proposal to ensure that extended childcare services meet or exceed expected standards. Detail monitoring processes, feedback mechanisms, and continuous improvement strategies.

7. Community involvement strategies: : Outline strategies for engaging with parents and the community. Demonstrating community involvement can strengthen your proposal and showcase the social impact of (and practical requirement for) your extended childcare services.

Maximising Impact for Schools and MATs

1. Strategic planning: Use the funding strategically to align with the long-term goals of your primary school or Multi Academy Trust. This is an opportunity to innovate and create positive changes with a lasting impact.

2. Diversity and inclusivity: Design wraparound care services that cater to diverse family needs. Ensure the funding contributes to creating an accessible and practical environment for all.

3. Measurable outcomes: Develop clear metrics and indicators to measure the success and impact of extended childcare services. This serves accountability purposes and contributes to ongoing improvement.

4. Communication and promotion:Effectively communicate the availability of extended childcare services funded by the scheme. Utilise various communication channels to reach parents, emphasising practical benefits and accessibility.


Accessing £289 million of new government funding through the Wraparound Childcare Pathfinder Scheme is a concrete opportunity to reshape and elevate childcare services. By navigating the application process strategically and deploying funds practically, schools and MATs can position themselves to create real operational and financial improvements for their organisation.

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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.

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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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