2 year funding event – 18th August

August 13, 2015

Do you have questions about the 2 year old funding?  Are you not sure if you qualify?  It maybe a little distance to travel but if you’re in Woking,  Lisa from the Surrey team who manages the 2 year old funding  will be on hand at The Peacock Shopping Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GH on Tuesday 18 August from 9.30 am – 6pm. She’ll be joined by the Family Information Service Team who can also advise on broader issues including childcare.

If you are in Hampshire, the funding eligibility still applies, so please go and see Lisa who will be more than helpful and be able to answer your questions.

Spread the word about free childcare

August 5, 2015

It’s around this time that people start looking for childcare for the little ones to start in September. We know childcare costs can be quite inhibitive, but don’t forget that children aged 2 can also qualify for up to 15 hours a week free childcare.

Research shows that children attending nursery / preschool get developmental and social advantages.  Their interaction with children the same age and other adults, and the wide variety of activities that each setting offers keeps children stimulated.

If you have a friend whose annual family income is less than £16000, their 2 year old could be eligible for a place. You’ll find more information by using the link below:

The Orchard Preschool Bramley, Surrey  www.surreycc.gov.uk/feet

The Orchard Nursery Farnborough, Hampshire  http://www3.hants.gov.uk/2-year-old-offer-2

Or call and ask any of the team who will happily help.  Contact us.

Tax-Free Childcare scheme

July 6, 2015

Recent developments in the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme, has meant that it’s unlikely to launch until early 2017.  However, it’s worth knowing your childcare voucher options now, as it may be too late to sign up for an alternative scheme next year.

The Government announced a new childcare voucher scheme called Tax-Free Childcare, which is likely to launch in early 2017.  For those entitled to the scheme, it should cover 20% of childcare costs for children up to the age of 12.  For children with disabilities, this is extended to the age of 17, because their childcare costs can stay high into their teenage years.

Will I qualify?

To qualify all parents in the household must be working, not earning more than £150,000 and not receiving tax credits or Universal credit.  The plan is to make the new scheme available to families with children under 5 first, then phasing it in for older children.

Which scheme do I go for?

If you already use a childcare voucher scheme e.g. Sodexho, EdenRed you can either stay in the scheme you are in or move to the the Tax-Free Childcare scheme – BUT you won’t be able to change back once you have moved.  It’s difficult to work out which scheme to be part of, as both schemes are different.  You need to investigate both options now and sign up for the childcare voucher scheme if that’s preferable to you, before it’s too late.

If one parent isn’t working, you won’t be eligible for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, likewise if you claim tax credits or have older children – childcare vouchers can be claimed up until the age of 15.

Only one parent can claim for the new scheme, whereas both of you can claim for the existing voucher scheme.

The Tax-Free Childcare Info Hub has a handy calculator which may help you decide:   Tax-Free Calculator

Advantages of the new scheme:

Tax-free Childcare is available to any eligible working family and you don’t have to rely on your employer to offer the scheme, unlike teh existing childcare voucher scheme.

It’s also available to the self employed, and there are benefits to the newly self employed people too.  It’s also available to people on paid sick leave, maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

Parents with more than one child may be better off with the new scheme as the existing childcare voucher scheme saving is limited to £933 per parent, whereas Tax-Free Childcare offers up to 20% of savings per child per year.

How will it work?

If eligible you will be able to set up an online account and pay into it to cover the cost of a registered childcare provider.  This means someone who is Ofsted registered – you won’t be able to use the scheme to pay for family or friends who look after your child unless they are registered.  The Government will ‘top up’ your account with an extra 20p for every 8-p you pay in.  You can pay money in when you want to, and build up a balance to pay for additional childcare over the summer holidays if required.  Other people can pay money into your account too!

More information about the new scheme, and the existing scheme can be found by reading http://www.tax-free-childcare.info/parents/ and we will keep you informed of developments as we know them.


Funding Available!

May 14, 2015

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year. Some 2-year-olds are also eligible.

You can start claiming free childcare after your child turns 3. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Some 2-year-olds in England can get free early education and childcare.  To get the free hours for a two year old you must be getting one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit and have an annual income under £16,190
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit

Children are also entitled to the free hours if:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special educational need (SEN) or an education health and care plan
  • they get disability living allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If your child is eligible please talk to us and we will sort out the relevant paperwork.

For more information on free childcare please click on the following links: