The Government has published guidance for schools on the new rights of parents and childcare providers to request wraparound and holiday childcare, announced back in October 2015.
Parents now have the right to request that the school that their child attends considers establishing wraparound and/or holiday childcare. At the same time, childcare providers also have the right to request to use school facilities for wraparound and/or holiday provision at times when the school is not using them. The aim is to encourage all maintained schools, including academies and free schools, to play a larger role in the childcare market in order to help working parents.
Earlier this year, the Government published a consultation, accompanied by draft guidance, on the so-called ‘right to request’, to which PACEY submitted evidence. The Government has published a consultation response alongside the final guidance.
The purpose of the guidance is to help schools understand how to respond to both parental and childcare provider requests, and it states that they must act reasonably in dealing with these requests and be transparent about the process they choose to follow.
It lists three models that schools may want to consider:
- In-house provision – for schools wishing to maintain control of all aspects of their childcare provision;
- Blended provision – for schools wishing to retain control of some aspects of their childcare provision, while also working in partnership with their local community;
- External provision – for schools who wish to hand over responsibility for running their childcare provision to another organisation (or to a consortia of providers, including childminders)
Since January 2016, childminders have been able to use their existing registration to work from non-domestic premises such as schools for up to 50% of their time. The guidance states that childminders are able to offer services such as a breakfast or after school club, or work in partnership with other childminders to offer a crèche service. PACEY has produced guidance for childminder members on working from alternative premises.
The Government has said it will be monitoring the levels of wraparound and holiday childcare available through schools to see if the guidance is sufficient. If it is not, it will consider further measures to improve take-up.