The Government’s promised new website aimed at informing parents about their options and entitlement to financial support for childcare – including of course hot-button topics like tax-free childcare and the 30 hours scheme, has finally gone live.
Childcare Choices offers details of the above recent Government initiatives as well as giving parents information on other schemes, such as 15 free hours, tax credits, Universal Credit and childcare vouchers. Included with the information published are several calculator tools and also the ability for parents to sign up to be notified of the roll-out of new initiatives and the start of their entitlement for funding or support as their children hit the required age.
For providers, this should result in a) a higher uptake of services as parents are likely to have more knowledge to what they’re entitled and b) more time spent discussing the specifics of how parents access these schemes in their setting.
Whilst the ongoing discussion in the sector is still very much about the perceived gap in funding between what local authorities are offering providers to cover the costs of policies such as the 30 hours scheme and what a provider’s real costs are, an increased uptake of Early Years provision may in the longer term benefit the majority of providers. Hopscotch has spent a great deal of time already with some of our clients modelling how their finances and operational expenditure look under the proposals and where the expected pinch points are both with availability and of course capacity – we are of course always available to provide the same service to new and existing customers.
With the new scheme rolling out in April in some initial local authority areas, we are perfectly positioned to quickly understand and help our clients adapt to these changing times!