30 hours free childcare for Foster Carers from September 2018
Free childcare to be extended to foster carers for the first time.
The Government has announced that over 340,000 children were in a 30 hour place in the first year of the policy.
Foster parents will have access to the Government’s flagship 30 hours free childcare offer for three and four year olds from September, giving them the same rights as other working families in England.
The extension marks a significant step forward in improving the support available for foster families who work, allowing them to take up the additional 15 hours of free childcare already available to other working parents since September 2017.
The Department for Education has also published data showing over 340,000 children aged three and four years old benefitted from a 30 hours place in its first year, giving thousands of families access to high-quality, affordable childcare. Parents benefiting from the 30 hours free childcare offer can save up to £5,000 per year on their childcare costs, and some parents have been able to increase their work hours or work more flexibly - helping to put more money back in families’ pockets and balancing work and home lives.
Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi said:
"We know childcare is one of the biggest issues affecting working parents of all kinds, which is why I am pleased that 340,000 people have benefitted from 30 hours of free childcare. Foster parents do an incredible job caring for children whose young lives have been disrupted in difficult and often traumatic ways, bringing them back into a supportive family unit and providing a more settled home life.
We want to make sure foster parents have the option of being able to work on top of their caring responsibilities, where it works for them and the children they care for. For many, this could make the difference between being able to foster or not, so it’s absolutely right that we support them with this challenging but rewarding role.
The 30 hours free childcare offer is backed by the government’s record investment of around £6 billion per year in childcare, which includes an extra £1 billion per year by 2020 to deliver the free entitlements."
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of The Fostering Network said:
"We warmly welcome this announcement which has rectified the initial exclusion of fostered children from this policy, and are pleased that the Department for Education listened to our calls for change.
The 15 extra hours will not be appropriate for all fostered children, but some foster carers, particularly family and friends carers and those offering long-term fostering, will need or want to combine fostering with work outside of the home, and this change will enable them to be able to do so. This is particularly good news for the recruitment of foster carers and is consistent with the message from Government that fostering can be combined with other work.
The move widens the range of childcare support already available from the Government, which parents who are not eligible for 30 hours may be able to access. This includes the universal offer of 15 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds, 15 free hours for the most disadvantaged two year olds, and Tax-Free Childcare, which can cut childcare costs by up to £2,000 per year for each child under 12 years old."
Early Years Provider Portal is now live!!!!
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.
Last updated: 11.10am on Wednesday 27 June 2018