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Parents of young children across the county are being encouraged to contact their local early years' provider to find out what is available for their children

During the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, it has become apparent that the usual channels for parents to acquire information about the Early Education Funding entitlements via early years providers, stay and playgroups and talking to other families has broken down due to parents being unable to access their usual support networks and reduced face-to-face contact with peers. 

This has led to some parents not knowing how to take up their funded place or understanding how to claim their entitlements including additional entitlements for working parents to assist with childcare costs. 

Covid-19 will have added extra considerations for parents who are looking at putting their children into an early years setting for the first time. They should be assured that safety in education settings for all children is paramount with all following robust guidance, risk assessment and implementing safety measures to enable children to continue to receive quality care and education despite the impact of Covid-19. 

Warwickshire County Council has heard from a number of providers who are reporting far lower than normal take-up of places and bookings, which is raising concern for providers of early education and childcare places.  Parents are also reporting that they don’t know how to access a funded place or what they are entitled too.

In order to overcome some of these perceived barriers and to clarify the unknown for parents and carers around accessing early education funding, Warwickshire County Council is targeting parents around Warwickshire with the information.

Cllr Colin Hayfield, Portfolio Holder for Education and Learning, said: “There are huge benefits for young children accessing early years education whether that is through a nursery or pre-school. These include socialising with other children, developing all important social skills and learning through play.

“In addition to the benefits for children, there are huge benefits for parents too as childcare provision will provide them a break after 3 long months of lockdown restrictions and allow them to return to or seek employment”

The following funded places are available to parents and carers around the county in line with the specified criteria:

Funding for 2-year olds

Parents may be able to claim up to 15 hours funded childcare per week over a minimum of 38 weeks for their two-year-old from the term after their second birthday. Application and eligibility criteria apply, for full details parents can go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/childcarecosts

Funding for three and four-year-olds – Universal Hours

All children are entitled to 15 hours funded childcare per week from the term following their third birthday over a minimum of 38 weeks. These hours can be accessed via day nurseries, pre-schools, maintained nursery schools and classes and some childminders.  Families do not need to apply for this as the early years provider will complete all necessary information and paperwork with the parents.

Funding for three and four-year-olds – Extended Entitlement hours (30 hours)

Working parents may be entitled to an additional 15 hours funded childcare per week over a minimum of 38 weeks per year from the term following their child’s third birthday. This is applied for via HMRC: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk eligibility criteria apply.

Parents wanting to find out if they are eligible and apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare, should watch this video for step-by-step guidance on what you need to do to apply: 30 Hours Free Tutorial

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

Childcare providers may be able to claim extra funding for a child to enhance the quality of children’s early education.

Children will be eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium if parents are in receipt of one or more of a number of benefits or credits (EYPP criteria). If parents are in receipt of one of these benefits or credits, they can complete the EYPP application section on the Parental Declaration Form that their early years provider will have asked them to complete.

Disability Access Fund (DAF)

To be eligible for DAF 3- & 4-year olds must meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – (a copy must be given to your childcare provider)

AND

  • the child receives some or all of the universal 15 hours entitlement

To claim for the Disability Access Fund (DAF), you must fully complete and sign the DAF application section on the PDF (Parental Declaration Form) given to you by your early years provider.

More information about Early Education Funding, can be found online: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/children-families/help-childcare-costs?documentId=497&categoryId=20045

Families wishing to find an early years or childcare place can contact Warwickshire County Council’s Family Information Service (FIS).  FIS can support parents with finding a provider that meets their needs.

They can be contacted via:

Watch the Early Years Education Video: 

 

Published: 8th March 2021