30 hours free childcare
The Department for Education have now launched the online Childcare Service, where parents can check their eligibility and apply for tax-free childcare and/or for the 30 hour offer.
Visit the Childcare Choices website for more information or sign up.
Tax-free childcare is a new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare.
Parents will be able to open an online account, which they can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider.
For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their childcare costs, or £4,000 for disabled children.
The scheme will be available for children under the age of 12, or under 17 for children with disabilities.
To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each expecting to earn at least £120 a week. Each parent must not have income over £100,000 per year.
The scheme will launch on 28 April 2017 and will gradually be rolled out to all eligible parents.
View more information about the Tax-Free Childcare scheme and how it will affect parents and childcare providers.
2 year olds in schools - implications of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (2015)
A briefing has been published which aims to provide background and an update on the legislative change for schools. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (2015), by amending The Childcare Act (2006), has removed the requirement for schools to register their early years provision for two year olds separately with Ofsted, so long as it meets certain requirements. This came into force on 26 May 2015.
Visit GOV.UK for more information about the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (2015).
Changes to Ofsted inspections
From September inspectors will be using a new common inspection framework and early years handbook.
Visit GOV.UK for more information about the changes to education inspections.
Schools taking 2 year olds
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (2015) has received Royal Assent. This has removed the requirement for schools to register their early years provision for two year olds (2YO) separately with Ofsted, so long as it meets certain requirements. This will come into force on 26 May 2015 (so in time for the new school term in September 2015).
"What this means in practice for schools currently taking two year olds?"
If a school is taking two year olds, they must continue to have a separate Early Years registration in place until 26 May. Separate Consequential Amendments (SI 963/2015) will legally lapse all existing provision that meets the requirements for exemption on 26 May. However, schools with a separate EY registration will be contacted in due course to outline the next steps in detail.
"What this means for schools considering taking two year olds?"
From 26 May 2015, providing school's provision for two year olds meets the requirements for exemption (e.g. children are pupils of the school), they will no longer need to register this separately with Ofsted. Updated guidance will be published in due course but as the requirements for exemption mirror those currently in place for three year old provision, schools should use these when deciding if they need a separate registration when they are planning their provision.