PACEY has long been calling on the government to revise the rules under the funded scheme in relation to related children in England. We know that it is a huge barrier for some of our members to provide extra funded places and not have the choice of allowing trusted relatives to look after their own children.
Following recent discussions with DfE we carried out a poll to gather data on how changing the rules might support provider and incentivise them to offer more funded places. This information has been submitted to them and we wait now to hear if there will be any proposals to revise the current rules.
We had 684 responses to to the questions and 359 comments.
Here are the results
Question 1: Do you have children in the expanded funded scheme age bracket? i.e. 9 months to 4 years?
Question 2: Do you look after your own children and therefore cannot claim funded hours for them?
Question 3: Do relatives look after your own children and therefore cannot claim funded hours for them?
Question 4: Would expanding the funding hours scheme to related children incentivise you to offer more funded places? Either By placing your own children with relatives (under the funded scheme) and taking on more children or by looking after related children (not your own) and claiming funded hours for them.
Of the 359 comments, here are some highlights:
'I’m a registered childminder but if I look after my grandchildren I can’t claim there funded hours'
'It seems so unfair not to be able to claim for them. I’ve been childminding for 15 years but can’t have my own grandson when my own son has grown up with me doing this job - we should be able to claim especially if we’ve been childminding and not just registering to have grandchildren'
'I run a childcare business from My home and employ staff. I firmly believe I should be able to claim funding for my grandchildren who I look after.'
'I look after my great niece and nephew and can’t claim funding for them, it makes no sense and isn’t at all fair or justified'
'I look after my granddaughter and she takes up 1 of my 3 under 5 years spaces and I don't charge which means I am hardly earning any money, far far less than the national minimum wage. She goes to pre school 1 day a week and the rest of the week she is with me.'
'Would make it easier for mums returning from maternity who are childminders to be better funded and provide better care alongside their own child. Would also be better for anxious parents to know a member of their family can look after their child and be paid for it if they are a childcare provider.'
'I have been a childminder for 23 years and so far looked after 5 of my grandchildren - All of them had to do their Funded hours at another setting due to not being allowed to claim for family members - Next year my 2 year old grandson will be eligible for Funding and again cannot use the hours with me I can understand not being able to claim for your own children - that makes sense but other family members should be allowed'
'All parents should be entitled to funding, just because their child is with a family member is so wrong. They are taking up a space so should be treated the same as all other children that are cared for by a childminder.'
Comment from PACEY's Head of Membership and Marketing, Ka Lai Brightley-Hodges:
The overwhelming volume of responses speaks for itself. We know that this has long been an issue for Childminders in England not just one about being able to claim more funding but also about feeling comfortable with their own child's childcare.
With the government needing a predicted 38,000 more providers to expand the funded scheme and over 72% of respondents in this poll saying that they would be incentivised to offer more funded places if related children were included in the funded scheme, it makes sense. PACEY is calling on the Government to change the rules as we have successfully done in Wales.