Welsh Government have today confirmed further information, including the rate that will be paid to childcare providers, for the Childcare Offer pilot in Wales.
The new childcare offer will provide working parents with 30 hours of early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks per year. The offer will build on children’s existing early education entitlement during term time, and provide 30 hours of childcare for 9 weeks of the holidays.
There are pilot areas in Anglesey, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Swansea. More information on specific areas is available on the local authority websites.
All providers in these areas will receive a rate of £4.50 per hour for children receiving the childcare element of the offer. Welsh Government have confirmed that providers will not be able to charge hourly top-up rates if they'd normally charge more than £4.50 per hour however can charge parents for additional elements such as food, transport and off-site activities which incur a cost.
Claire Protheroe, Direct Services Manager (Wales) stated 'PACEY Cymru welcomes the confirmation of the agreed rate for the childcare offer in Wales. We believe the rate of £4.50 per hour appears fair when it is taken into account that this figure does not include food or other additional allowable elements and has the option for parents to provide meals and snacks if they do not wish to receive these from the setting. The opportunity to test the rate and other factors during the pilot period will provide evidence on how this works in practice however we believe that the agreed rate will support sustainability of the sector and ensure a good take up of the offer by childcare providers. We have worked closely with Welsh Government and Local Authorities in recent months to represent the views and needs of members in Wales and engagement will continue as the pilot develops. PACEY Cymru are also in favour of the decision to use one funding rate across Wales to support consistency, implementation and clear messaging to families. We believe however there is still work to be done to support the sector to ensure a comparable, rate across Wales for all Foundation Phase providers in the non-maintained sector to ensure parity and consistency between funded education and childcare provision. We would also welcome further, clear guidance on additional allowable elements, as provided for food costs, to support sustainable choices that balance family need with providers' viability.'
PACEY Cymru have shared further information on the Childcare Offer including Frequently Asked Questions and will continue to update this as further information is provided.