What is the Childcare Offer?
The Childcare Offer for Wales is a Welsh Government initiative and will provide eligible working parents with 30 hours of early education and childcare, for 3 to 4 year olds only.
Children starting nursery in September 2022 can apply now.
Please note that funding for the Offer cannot be received until the application has been completed and a start date issued. Please note funding will not be backdated.
How many hours am I eligible for?
The Childcare Offer for Wales is a combination of Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) (between 10 – 12.5 hours) and childcare (between 17.5 – 20 hours), for up to 48 weeks per year.
Parents are not required to access their early education entitlement as a prerequisite to accessing the childcare element of the offer, however, their entitlement will include these hours whether they access them or not.
If additional Foundation Phase Nursery hours are offered/accepted the amount of childcare hours will be reduced accordingly.
Who is eligible for the Offer?
Eligible working parents will need to be earning the equivalent of 16 hours at national minimum wage, national living wage or more, and be a resident in Torfaen. An upper income cap for working parents is set at £100,000. If part of a couple, both parents must be working and meet this requirement. If either parent earns above this upper income cap, they will not be eligible for the offer.
Where parents have separated but do not share equal custody of the child, the parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the offer (if they meet the eligibility criteria). Where parents share equal custody one parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the offer.
Parents, guardians, step-parents and live-in partners will all need to meet the eligibility criteria in order for a child living within that household to be able to take up the offer.
Parents enrolled in further or higher education courses in September 2022 can also now apply for the Offer.
A parent in education or training can be a parent who is either: –
- enrolled on a Higher Education (HE) undergraduate or postgraduate course that is at least 10 weeks in length. This includes courses delivered via distance learning.
- enrolled on a course that is at least 10 weeks in length and which is delivered at a Further Education (FE) Institution. This includes courses delivered via distance learning.
A parent in education and training should provide evidence of formal enrolment on a relevant HE or FE course. Where a parent has applied and been offered a place on a relevant HE or FE course, but has not yet been able to enrol, they would need to provide evidence of a formal offer of a course place. A parent in education or training who meets the eligibility criteria would be able to access the Offer from the point at which their course commences.
In both cases this evidence should indicate: –
- the start date of the course; and
- the end date of the course and/or the length of the course in weeks; and
- the name of the institution delivering the course
Will I have to pay for anything?
The Offer funds a maximum of 30 hours of early education and childcare in Wales per week for up to 48 weeks of the year. The funding from the government is for the education and care the professionals within the setting provide. It does not include food, transport or off-site activities that incur an extra charge and providers will be able to charge you for these.
The cost of transport will depend on where you live and how far they have to travel. Providers should not charge more than £9 per day for food or £5.75 for half a day (including lunch).
How do I apply?
If you have checked the eligibility criteria please apply online at http://bit.ly/ChildcareOfferTorfaen or download the Blaenau Gwent App using My Council Services. The Childcare Offer application is situated in the Health, Wellbeing and Social Care option.
Please note that children starting nursery education in 2022 cannot apply for the Offer until approximately 6 weeks prior to the start of the nursery term.
Children starting nursery January 2022 can typically expect to apply from November 2021.
Children starting nursery April 2022 can typically expect to apply from March 2022 .
Children starting nursery September 2022 can typically expect to apply from July 2022.
In order to complete the application you will need to submit copies of:
- Childs birth certificate or Passport
- Proof of address, this could be a utility bill or council tax bill
- Last three months wage slips. (If part of a couple you must each provide your last three months’ wage slips, or self-employed earnings evidence. However, if one of you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you will need to provide evidence of this).
Please visit our Facebook page www.Facebook.com/TorfaenFIS for updates about the offer.
Please note that children whose 3rd birthday is between between 1st April – 31st August will not be eligible for the Offer until the September.
How long does the application process take?
If you have submitted an application you can typically expect acknowledgement of your application from Blaenau Gwent Childcare Team within 10 working days.
Parents will be issued with a unique reference number and a childcare booking form that will need to be completed with your chosen childcare setting. Please note that funding for the Offer will not begin until a start date has been confirmed and the application process has been completed. Funding will not be back dated.
If you have any queries about the status of your application please contact Blaenau Gwent Childcare Offer Team on 01495 355584 or by Email ChildcareOffer@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk. You can also check the status of your application by viewing the ‘My Reports’ section using online portal.
For general inquiries about the Childcare Offer call Torfaen Family Information Service Freephone 0800 0196 330 or email email@example.com
Exceptions to eligibility:
There are some circumstances in which parents will be able to access the offer when they don’t meet the eligibility criteria:
- Where one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay or are in receipt of statutory maternity / paternity pay.
- Where one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits or has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring;
- Newly self-employed parents
- Kinship carers, family and friends carers who have taken responsibility for a child or step child who is not their own because:
- The child has no parents or has parents who are unable to care for the child
- It is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority because of concerns in relation to the child’s welfare
Can I use more than one childcare provider?
Yes, you can use up to TWO registered childcare settings per day in addition to their nursery education setting in any given day during term time. You can use only use two registered childcare settings during school holidays.
How much childcare can I access during school holidays?
The Offer will cover up to 48 weeks per year, this includes 9 weeks of school holidays. During 9 weeks of these school holidays parents can apply up to 30 hours of funded childcare.
During an academic school year parents could be entitled to 39 weeks of Foundation Phase Nursery Education and funded childcare. However parents can only access funded childcare for 9 out of the 13 school holiday weeks. Therefore parents could be responsible for fees outstanding during, both, term time and school holidays.
Parents can choose which holiday periods they would like to use, however holiday weeks are limited to 3 weeks per term. Parents are advised to speak to their childcare provider to ensure they know how many hours they are claiming during some holiday periods.