Good news for working parents as funding approved to expand childcare before and after school

Hampshire County Council has approved funding of £5.9 million to help more parents access childcare before and after school. The funding has been granted by the Department for Education to support schools and Local Authorities to set up or expand the provision of childcare which ‘wraps around’ the school day, enabling parents and carers of primary school-aged children to access and pay for term time childcare from 8am-6pm

Feb 21 2024

The funding will be allocated from September 2024 over two academic years until April 2026. The expectation is that after this point, settings will be able to run successfully on income from parental fees, without the need for further financial assistance.

Welcoming the additional funding, Councillor Edward Heron, Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “The timings of a school day can be a barrier to work for some parents of school-aged children, and Hampshire already has a good mixed childcare offer in place to help address this. With the continued take up of free childcare for children attending nursery and pre-school, it is important that we support the government’s ambition to make wraparound childcare for school-aged children more widely available. This will better support those parents who are already working, as well as those who are looking to enter employment, and will have significant positive outcomes not only for individual families but for the wider economic prosperity of the county as a whole. We look forward to working with schools, childcare providers and childminders in the coming months and years to help make this programme a success for local families.” 

The national wraparound childcare programme comes as part of wider childcare reforms announced by Government in its spring 2023 budget. These include the expansion of free childcare to all eligible working parents of children aged between nine months and four years, from September 2025.

The key aims of the wraparound childcare element of these reforms are to ensure that childcare provision for school-aged children is regular and dependable for working parents, operates for longer hours, and is inclusive with appropriate support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Provision can be offered by schools, either directly or in collaboration with private, voluntary and independent providers, including childminders and early years settings, and can be run on a school site or at another setting in the local area.

The County Council is currently considering a variety of funding approaches to best support schools to deliver a wraparound childcare offer and will provide further information to settings in due course.

Parents are required to independently fund the costs of wraparound childcare. Eligible parents can use Universal Credit childcare support to fund up to 85 per cent of the costs of wraparound childcare, or Tax Free Childcare to subsidise 20 per cent of costs up to £2,000 a year. The Government’s Childcare Choices website provides more information about the financial support available to parents paying for childcare.

Visit the County Council’s website for full details of the funding agreed in relation to the Wraparound Childcare Programme.