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NEWS: Childminders included in wraparound childcare guidance for schools

Today the DfE published it's guidance for schools and trusts on their role in providing wraparound childcare to children of primary school age in England. This guidance outlines the role of schools and trusts and is designed to support both, regardless of their involvement with the wraparound national childcare programme. 

The Government’s ambition for wraparound childcare in England includes: 

  • enabling parents to work or study  

  • supporting vulnerable children  

  • offering enriching activities that children enjoy  

  •  attracting parents to the school  

  • supporting a soft start to the school day and attendance  

  • investing fees into the school or community facilities 

Currently, 80% of schools provide some form of wraparound care, but at least 40% of schools offer wraparound in a form that may not support parents to work the hours they want. Of parents who would like to work, or work more hours, they estimate that 26% of them would be supported to do so if more 8am-6pm childcare was made available. 

The guidance states that local authorities are responsible for ensuring there are sufficient wraparound childcare places in their area. They will work with schools, trusts, and PVI providers (including childminders and early years providers) to do so, using government funding to set up new provision and expand existing provision, where needed. The programme should be built on existing assets and understanding of the local community, which incorporates and does not disrupt and displace the existing wraparound childcare market.  

PVI Providers including Childminders 

The guidance sets out a number of ways that schools can work with childminders including: 

  • In partnership with on-site 

  • In partnership with off-site 

  • Signposting to their services  

The guidance claims that ‘PVI providers, including childminders and early years providers, already deliver the childcare so many parents need. They are essential to the availability of wraparound childcare, delivering childcare on or off school sites.’ 

‘While childminders mostly work on domestic premises, they can currently work from non-domestic premises for up to half of their time. The government has passed legislation, and is working to implement the changes, to create a new category of childminder who would work entirely on non-domestic premises, alongside expanding the amount of time domestic childminders are able to work on non-domestic premises.' 

Affordability 

For wraparound to be accessible to parents and be sustainable, it must be affordable. Schools are expected to promote government subsidies such as Tax-Free Childcare and Universal Credit Childcare to help parents and carers with the affordability of childcare, using established communication routes, such as parent newsletters. 

Signpost to appropriate provision  

Schools that are unable to have wraparound on the school site are expected to work collaboratively with their local authorities to ensure parents are, at a minimum, signposted to appropriate provision. These must not require parents to pick up or drop off their children between the school day and wraparound. 

Read the full guidance document here.

Comment from Ka Lai Brightley-Hodges, Head of Membership and Marketing:

Since the government first announced in the 2023 Spring Budget, it would be investing £289 million to support the expansion of wraparound childcare, we've been working with our members to determine what impact this may have on their business and mitigate any risks. 

From a poll at the time we know that 71% of our members provide school wraparound care of some form and 57% of those were ‘Slightly worried’ or ‘Very worried’ about losing income to wraparound care provided by primary schools. Since then, PACEY has been in constant communication with DfE and the newly formed Wraparound care team, advising them on how Childminders who currently provide wraparound care work and why it’s more beneficial to many children including those with special educational needs to be cared for by Childminders before and after school. Every step of the way we have highlighted the important part Childminders will play to ensure the success of this scheme and will continue to monitor how schools and local authorities engage with and include Childminders based on the guidance given. We are keen to understand any barriers and the impact on Childminder businesses. 

If you are a Childminder and would like to give feedback on the scheme so far, please email support@pacey.org.uk. Thank you