National Wraparound Childcare Programme
8th February 2024
Today the Department for Education released its Wraparound Childcare Guidance for Schools and Trusts.
The guidance outlines the role of schools and trusts in relation to wraparound childcare for children of primary school age. It also covers a brief practical guide for setting up wraparound provision but is clear that this is covering wraparond care that is run by schools or PVI providers, on or near a school site.
The guidance is non-statutory (not legally binding) and builds on information in the programme handbook to LAs released in October 2023. It has been published to support the national wraparound childcare programme; however, it should support schools, trust and providers, regardless of their involvement with the programme becuase it covers relationships with PVI providers amongst other things.
Alongside the guidance, the DfE also shared an information sheet for PVI providers (including childminders and early years providers) which summarises what this guidance means for you.
If you have any questions about the programme or want to comment directly to the Department for Education, please do get in touch with the team via the shared mailbox - Wraparound.PROGRAMME@education.gov.uk
30th October 2023
Out of School Alliance welcomes £289million investment into Wraparound Childcare Programme with Launch of National Wraparound Childcare Programme Analysis Report
National Wraparound Childcare Programme is welcomed by Out of School Alliance as a recognition the ‘forgotten sector’s’ voice has finally been heard.
In a raft of government announcements on, 27th October 2023, the Department for Education launched its latest guidance on the £289 million National Wraparound Childcare Programme guidance including a handbook for Local Authorities, Local Authority funding allocations, information about £100 million capital funding available to support early years and wraparound expansion, a new blog for parents about the childcare expansion programme, and for good measure threw into the mix their response to the latest EYFS changes consultation.
Says Rebekah Jackson Reece, Managing Director of Out of School Alliance; “Working to improve availability recognises the crucial part played by wraparound childcare in supporting the economy.”
Today, Out of School Alliance releases its National Wraparound Childcare Programme Analysis to highlight programme strengths and weaknesses for the existing sector.
Says Rebekah Jackson Reece; “As the only membership organisation representing the Out of School sector, Out of School Alliance has undertaken detailed analysis of the Government announcement to help our members and other interested parties understand how this funding announcement will affect the sector.”
Out of School Alliance Info Sheet for Providers
To help existing providers understand the LA Handbook covers and what it means, we've created an info sheet and an analysis report.
The analysis report covers the positives and the parts we are concerned about as it stands.
But we also recognise that not everyone is able to process lots of text heavy information.
On Monday 30th October, Tanya Petherick of Club Central and Rebekah Jackson Reece, OOSA CEO, got together 'in conversation' around the Department for Education's National Wraparound Childcare Programme following the release of the Local Authority Programme Guidance. What is the programme all about, common myths and rumours explored, what this means for providers and much more! You can access the recording of the session via our YouTube channel.
Full video click here
Audio only version click here
Links to the Guidance Documents
On 15th March 2023, Jeremy Hunt MP announced in his Spring Budget a pledge to invest £289 million over two years from September 2024, to enable Local Authorities to encourage the development and extension of school based wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm. This policy commitment is one that seeks to address availability rather than affordability of school aged childcare in England. An aligned move to remove the Universal Credit claim cap and uplift the amount paid by the Childcare element of Universal Credit is seen as sufficient measures to support the affordability challenge for families.
At the Out of School Alliance, we reacted quickly issuing a press release which was picked up in a number of media outlets. Rebekah Jackson Reece, Managing Director of OOSA, met with Department for Education for comment and consultation within 48 hours of the announcement being made by HM Treasury. As a result of a two hour discussion with the DfE team, Rebekah has been invited to sit on the Wraparound Policy Steering group set up to support the development and roll out of this policy commitment. The group is tight, with just 6 representatives including primary school leads, Local Government Association, Local Authorities, OOSA and another representative from the sector. The group will meet regularly to support and challenge DfE as they shape and deliver this policy.
During the last six months, Rebekah has met monthly with the DfE Steering Group to shape policy direction, inform the team of the impact on the existing out of school provider market and to challenge the DfE thinking around certain aspects of the policy formation.
From May 2023, we have been able to report directly to members on the progress the Steering Group have been making.
Key messages continue to be:
- that this is a programme about filling the gaps in availability of provision for parents
- funding will be made available to Local Authorities to support the set up and expansion of provision where there is demonstrable unmet demand or to stimulate demand
- the focus on schools in the programme is because the vast majority of provision is delivered on school sites and parents repeatedly state that provision on school sites is their preference
- the funding will not go directly to schools to run their own provision but will be managed by Local Authorities who have a duty to secure sufficient childcare
In July, the 16 Local Authorities on the co-design group were announced. These LA’s are working with the DfE to help the team understand the challenges, opportunities and barriers that they feel that they might face in delivering on the programme.
Throughout this time, in addition to the core group meetings, Rebekah has been working with DfE to understand particular challenges faced by the sector including challenges over lack of security of tenure on school sites for existing providers, inclusion and lack of support for children with SEND, workforce issues around recruitment and retention and lack of a framework for professional development, training and qualifications, as well as helping to design the communication strategy for existing providers.
As a result the DfE published an exclusive programme update for OOSA members via the monthly newsletter. This bespoke update has been shortly followed by the release of the first in a series of information briefings about the programme development specifically for existing out of school providers in the PVI (private, voluntary and independent sector) and childminders offering out of school care. You can read the full text below or download a copy pdf here
The programme and our objectives
The government is investing £289 million over 2 years to support the expansion of wraparound childcare for primary school-aged pupils.
The government’s ambition is for all parents of primary school children who need it to be able to access childcare in their local area from 8am-6pm. This will help to ensure that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours and with flexible hours.
Local authorities in England will work with primary schools and private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers, including childminders, to introduce or expand before and after school childcare provision in their area where there is a gap in availability. As part of this programme the government wants local authorities, schools and providers to test flexible approaches and gather evidence of what works.
Parents will still be expected to pay to access this provision, as this programme aims to increase the availability of childcare rather than subsidise childcare. Support with the cost will continue be available to eligible parents through Universal Credit childcare and Tax-Free Childcare.
The wraparound programme aims to remove barriers to setting up new provision or expanding current provision, including removing the financial risk of setting up new provision when demand is not yet guaranteed.
Parents should expect to see an expansion in the availability of wraparound care from September 2024, with the programme ambition being that every parent who needs to will be able to access term-time wraparound childcare by September 2026.
Programme delivery and your role
Local authorities have an existing responsibility to ensure sufficient childcare for children up to the age of 14. This programme and funding will therefore be delivered through local authorities.
Local authorities will be able to use funding to contribute to the start-up, expansion and running costs of provision, including costs for staffing, training, and resources, while demand for provision builds. The expectation is that provision will become self-sustainable through parental payments alone by the end of the funding term.
While primary schools may offer some of this new or expanded provision directly, we expect PVIs, working on and off school sites, and childminders to play a core role in the programme. Local authorities may choose to work with local childminders, hubs/clusters, community-based provision, or adopt another delivery model, as well as more traditional schools-based models, whether run by schools directly or by PVI providers.
We are committed to ensuring that the programme does not adversely impact the existing PVI market, including childminders.
Next steps and timings
Autumn 2023: New wraparound programme handbook published alongside the announcement of local authority funding allocations. Once published local authorities will begin work to map supply and demand to plan their local offers. It will be at this stage they will begin working with PVI and childminders in their area on the expanded wraparound offer.
January 2024: The first round of funding will be provided to local authorities. Guidance for schools and trusts will also be published, outlining their role in supporting the availability of childcare in their area, including the option to work with PVIs and childminders.
September 2024: Programme launch: additional wraparound childcare places starting to be available for parents to access in all areas of the country.