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Upper age limit for the registration of childcare provision to be extended in Wales

The Welsh Government has released a written response to the consultation on proposed changes to childcare regulation and registration in Wales.

Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, released an official response to the Consultation on Proposed Changes to Childcare Regulation and Registration in Wales, following extensive consultations across the sector earlier this year.

PACEY Cymru and other Cwlwm partners led on focus groups to ensure the views of those from the sector were fed into the consultation which closed on 5 June 2015, and PACEY Cymru produced a detailed consultation response.

The Welsh Government received 130 responses and have confirmed a summary of these, alongside the Welsh Government’s response to all the issues raised, will be published later this autumn.

However, they have announced the outcome of one of the key points of the consultation today, and this is that responses demonstrated wide scale support from the childcare sector for extending registration to children aged 8 years and over. From 1 April 2016, therefore, the upper age limit for the registration of childcare provision will be extended from 8 to 12 years. This is the upper age limit at which most parents use formal childcare.

This would also bring the system of registration in Wales in line with other parts of the UK, align it with the new Tax Free Childcare scheme in 2017, and help reduce the risks of bringing other youth support activities into the scope of childcare registration.

The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) will be contacting providers on the childcare register to advise them of these changes and of the introduction of their new inspection framework. CSSIW will run national consultation events later this autumn to discuss their plans to implement these new arrangements from April 2016.  As a part of this work, CSSIW will make changes to the NMS to reflect the revision to the upper age limit.

At this time no decision has been announced on how ratios for childcare settings in Wales will be amended in line with the announced changes.

PACEY Cymru is involved in discussions with Welsh Government and CSSIW on taking this forward and will be keen to ensure that the needs of members are considered at every level. We will provide further updates as information is released, and a more detailed article on how these changes will affect you as providers in Wales.

Claire Protheroe, Direct Services Manager for PACEY Cymru said: ‘We welcome the announcement from the Minister on the extension of the upper age limit for the registration of childcare provision from eight to 12 years and this is in line with the views of the majority of members who attended the consultation events. PACEY Cymru feel this is a positive step forward to ensure children up to 12 receive the best quality childcare.  

PACEY Cymru believe, however, that there is an urgent need for Welsh Government to finalise decisions, and cascade information, on how this will work in practice- specifically in relation to the impact this is likely to have on childcare ratio’s as this will be of concern to all those working with children 0-12 in the childcare sector’

Full written response is available here 

Further information on what this means for you as providers is available here