Understanding Universal Credit for Wraparound Childcare
The Universal Credit scheme is designed to support individuals who are on a low income or out of work. A significant benefit of the scheme for parents is the ability to reclaim qualifying childcare costs.
How it works – the basics
1. Percentage of fees covered: Eligible parents can reclaim up to 85% of their wraparound childcare costs through Universal Credit.
2. Qualifying childcare: To claim, the childcare must be Ofsted registered and approved. Schools offering wraparound care are typically eligible via their main Ofsted registration.
3. Maximum limits: There are caps on the amount that can be claimed – up to £646.35 per month for one child, or up to £1,108.04 for two or more children.
The Role of Schools
1. Inform and educate: Schools should proactively inform parents about the possibility of claiming childcare costs through Universal Credit. This information can be disseminated through newsletters, parent meetings, or dedicated information sessions.
2. Provide necessary documentation: Schools will need to provide parents with receipts or proof of childcare costs. Agreeing a set format for this documentation can significantly streamline the process for parents applying for Universal Credit.
3. Support through the process: While schools cannot apply on behalf of parents, they can offer guidance and support, such as explaining the application process or directing parents to government resources for assistance.
Benefits for Parents and Schools
1. Financial relief for families: By reclaiming a significant portion of childcare costs, families can alleviate financial strain, making wraparound care more accessible and affordable.
2. Increased uptake for the school: As more parents can afford wraparound, schools may see increased uptake, benefiting the community and driving the school’s potential revenue.
3. Promoting Educational Equity: By supporting parents in accessing financial assistance, schools help ensure that all children, regardless of their family’s financial status, have access to consistent and high quality before and after-school care.
Understanding and utilising the support offered through Universal Credit can make a substantial difference for families struggling with childcare costs. As a school providing wraparound care, your role in guiding and supporting parents through this process is invaluable. For any further guidance, please do get in touch with Childcare Bookings for Schools – who are experienced in supporting parents with reclaiming wraparound care costs via Universal Credit as part of our standard service to schools.
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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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