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What to do if you have applied for or want to apply for 30 hours of early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

First published:
6 August 2020
Last updated:

What is my local Family Information Service

Your local Family Information Service (FIS) provides free advice on childcare.

There is a local FIS in each local authority area across Wales who can provide information about a range of services in your area. Any questions you have about the Offer, for example eligibility and how to apply, should be directed to your local FIS.

 

The local authority is taking a long time to process my application and I need to access childcare so that I can work

Local authorities are dealing with a high volume of applications, some of which are complex and take time to fully assess. It will always help if you provide all of the information required for a local authority to consider your application, as this is likely to save time.

Can I start using childcare although the local authority hasn’t processed my application yet?

Each local authority will have their own process and timescales for applying for the Offer and notifying parents of eligibility. You need to have your application approved by your local authority and agreed with your provider before you can start to claim the Offer. If you choose to access childcare whilst you are waiting for your application to be processed this will be at your own cost. Offer funding will not be backdated to pay for any childcare used before your application was approved.

Can I swap early years hours for childcare hours?

Under no circumstances can you swap your Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) hours for childcare hours. You can however speak to your childcare provider to organise additional childcare which you must pay for yourself. Once your child becomes eligible for full time education in your local authority they stop being eligible for the Childcare Offer during term time, although they can still access the holiday entitlement of the Childcare Offer until the September after their fourth birthday.

My school is doing a staggered start for early education and doesn’t start until later in the week, can I access more hours of childcare on the days when my child is not in early education provision?

You are unable to swap your FPN hours for childcare hours. If your school is doing a staggered start you will not be able to claim additional hours from the Offer to cover any FPN hours which are not available.

My child is eligible for full time early education, but my school has a staggered approach to the start and end of the school day which means that the school day is shorter than what it was before the virus. Can I top this up with Childcare Offer hours?

You are unable to swap your FPN hours for childcare hours. If your school is doing a staggered start and finish to the day you will not be able to claim additional hours from the Offer to cover any FPN hours which are not available at this time.

I don’t know what childcare options are available to me in my local area.

Your local FIS can provide information on what help is available in local areas and may be able to offer advice and options based on your specific circumstances.

Can my child attend more than one setting funded under the Offer?

Limiting social contacts is an important part of reducing the likelihood of seeing large outbreaks of the virus. Children should remain in the same, consistent group for the duration of their time at their childcare setting. If a child attends more than one setting, for example school and wrap-around or out of school childcare, the child should remain in the same group across both settings wherever possible. Where this is not possible they should remain in consistent groups within each setting to reduce the overall number of contacts.

Where children need to attend more than one setting, parents and settings should discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus while adhering to the guidance about protecting children and staff from coronavirus.  

My income has dropped as a result of Covid-19, do I need to let my local authority know?

Yes, you should notify your local authority of any changes to your circumstances. If you think you may have fallen out of eligibility because, as a result of COVID-19, your income has temporarily fallen below 16 hours at the applicable minimum wage or because you are a critical worker and your income has increased, you may be able to continue to receive the Offer for a period of time.

I’d like to apply for the Offer but I’m earning less now than I was before Covid 19

If you are applying for the Offer for the first time and you think you may not be eligibility because, as a result of COVID-19, your income has temporarily fallen below 16 hours at the applicable minimum wage or because you are a critical worker and your income has increased, please speak to your local authority about your personal circumstances.

What other help is available to me with childcare costs?

Your local FIS can provide information on what help is available in your local area and may be able to offer advice and options based on your specific circumstances. 

The UK Government can also provide help with childcare costs:

Will my benefits be effected by using the Offer?

Any funding you get from us towards your childcare costs could affect other benefits you get.

Tax Free childcare

If you get tax-free childcare you need to report any changes to HMRC on GOV.UK when you reconfirm your details every 3 months. This includes funding you get from us to help pay for childcare costs. You may be able to use tax-free childcare to pay for extra costs such as food, transport and retainer fees. You need to check with HMRC if you can claim these cost as part of tax-free childcare.

Universal Credit

If you get the childcare part of Universal Credit you need to report any changes in your family or work life to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on GOV.UK.

Tax credits

If you get tax credits you need to report any changes in your family or work life to HMRC on GOV.UK. This includes funding from us to help pay for childcare costs.