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Government plans for parents to request wraparound childcare at school

Posted on 10 December 2015

In December 2015, as part of their on-going childcare strategy, the Government released draft guidance for consultation, outlining plans to allow parents the ‘right to request’ wraparound childcare at their child’s school for outside the school day and during holidays.  It also gives childcare providers the right to request the use of school facilities to provide this childcare.

Wraparound care is crucial for many parents. 

For many parents, the childcare dilemma becomes harder when their child starts school as few jobs fit neatly into the school day. They require before and after school care, as well as during school holidays.  These plans of having care on the school premises make it convenient for everyone. It would help parents to easily access more care, make it easy for the child to settle and allow childcare providers to offer it in an efficient way.

There is also a financial advantage.

Under these plans parents may benefit from saving money, as any care (including clubs and activities) that takes place outside of school hours and on school premises, can be paid for using tax and NI exempt Childcare Vouchers. This means that parents can save tax and NI on the cost of this wrap around care. 

Find out more about the savings with Childcare Vouchers > 

What does ‘right to request’ mean in practice?

The right to request means that a request can be made and has to be given due consideration.  It can only be denied with reasonable justification. 

If a parent makes a request for wraparound provision, examples of reasons for denying the request are, no suitable space available or a low level of demand (20 is suggested as a reasonable minimum threshold for most schools).

When a childcare provider makes a request to provide the care, the school may refuse on such grounds as; other plans for the facilities, unsuitable provision for their pupils or insufficient information or evidence of appropriate quality or capability to deliver the wraparound care. 

Neither list is comprehensive, but there must be reasonable justification to deny the request

A process is outlined that schools should follow. They can open up a window for the request period, and parents should write a letter or email making the request.  The school then considers the request and give the decision, informing parents of the timescales. 

This policy is recognising the need for quality affordable wrap around childcare.

Historically childcare has been seen as a term relating to pre-school care, but in reality the need for quality, affordable care does not end when a child starts school, and any policy that recognises this is a good thing.  As Childcare Vouchers can be used to save tax and NI until 1st September following a child’s 15th birthday, there are ways for parents to reduce the cost, and this policy may help to increase availability.

Want to discuss this with a childcare expert?

We offer live instant chat sessions every Tuesday & Thursday at 1.30pm. You can ask our experts all about how your family can save money on childcare. Simply log into www.workingparentszone.co.uk and go to the childcare stand to join.

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