Parents urged to access new funding for childcare

The expansion of the childcare support has been welcomed by award-winning wraparound care providers, Roboodles, run by Claire Bennett (pictured) and Lianne Conroy.

The owners of an award-winning out-of-school club have urged parents of young children in North Yorkshire to ensure they benefit from national changes to funding for childcare from the spring.

Working parents and carers of two-year-old children are being reminded to prepare for the Government’s changes to childcare funding from April.

Currently there is funded childcare available for families of two-year-olds who are in receipt of some additional form of government support. This will not change and families should continue to apply for government funding through the North Yorkshire Council’s online application form.

However, from April, working parents of two-year-old children may be able to access 15 hours of funded childcare. Eligible working families can start to apply for this entitlement from January 2.

The changes include:

  • From April 2024, eligible working families of two-year-old children will be entitled to up to 15 hours of government-funded childcare per week (based on 38 weeks per year).
  • From September 2024, potentially eligible working families will be eligible to up to 15 hours of government-funded childcare the term after their child has turned nine months old (based on 38 weeks per year).
  • From September 2025, when all the changes have been introduced, eligible working families with children under the age of five years will be entitled to up to 30 hours of government-funded childcare (based on 38 weeks per year).

To qualify for the new government childcare funding, parents/carers must:

  • Be in work.
  • Earn a minimum of the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national living or minimum wage.
  • Earn less than £100,000 a year.

This applies to both parents in a couple (so each parent must fit the criteria) and to single parents in a single parent household.  Parents must meet the working family criteria to be eligible for the government funded childcare entitlement.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, said: “Changes to childcare will mean many more families in North Yorkshire may benefit from a funded place for their children.

“Therefore, it is vital for potentially eligible working parents and carers of two-year-old children start planning now if they are going to take up the Government’s offer of funded childcare from April, especially as all government funding starts the term after a child’s eligible birth date.”

North Yorkshire Council is also urging providers to prepare for the changes so that they can meet any extra demand for places.

The authority’s assistant director of education and skills, Amanda Newbold, added: “We are working closely with childcare providers across the county to support them through the changes to ensure they can cope with the demand.

“This is an opportunity for us all to work together and improve the childcare options for working parents and for those who want to return to working more hours.”

Support is also expanding for families of primary-school aged children from Reception to Year 6 from September 2024.

The national Wraparound Childcare Programme is the Government’s ambition for all parents and carers of primary school aged pupils to be able to access term time childcare in their local area from 8am to 6pm. This will remain a paid for service.

The move has been welcomed by an award-winning North Yorkshire out-of-school club.

Roboodles is an independent breakfast and after school club operating from the premises of Roecliffe Church of England Primary School in Boroughbridge.

Run by Lianne Conroy and Claire Bennett, 51 children attend the club, which is more than half of the children that attend the school.

Last year, it won the “Out of School Club of the Year 2023” award and was highly commended in the “Team of the Year” and “Mental Health and Wellbeing 2023” categories organised by Club Central.

Lianne Conroy said: “We feel the changes recognise the crucial support that our sector provides to working parents and the economy.

“By the government making available the potential for some grant funding, we hope this will help providers play a vital part in filling the gaps where current wraparound care is oversubscribed, limited in availability or missing altogether.”

Parents and carers are advised to check if they are eligible for the childcare entitlement by visiting www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

More details about the childcare changes can be found online at https://cyps.northyorks.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare