Ways of Funding Your Child's Place

Overview

These days there is a lot of help available to support you and your childcare needs.

You can request flexible working from your employer which can help to make your childcare needs more manageable and affordable.

You can get help through Tax Credits

You can save the National Insurance on your Childcare Fees by asking your employer to pay you (in part) using childcare "vouchers".

Your employer may run a scheme where they will pay some of your childcare costs for you.

Once your child is 3 and 4 years old you will be entitled to up to 15 hours of free childcare a week.

What follows provides a little more about some of the above

A thought

Why the question of funding? Some people see the funding as the main issue and just see it as an expense. This is fine - but is this the whole story?

A lot of people actually think of childcare as an investment in your child. (In a similar way to staying at home to look after them can be an investment.) Equally a lot of women have good careers and wish to continue their career after their child is born. Childcare is therefore also a way of investing in their future. It may also be that the parents would go insane and feel unfulfilled if they remained at home and left their career. So maybe even if there isn't a net financial benefit - there are benefits which are actually priceless.

When considered as an investment, the choice of funding is perhaps a little different. It may be that looking at the "childcare funding issue" in a different way that the investment is easier. Martin Lewis on the website http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ has many different ways of making money go further including just switching bank accounts. By following a number of these ideas you may be able to make things a little easier.

Flexible Working

On returning to work you can request to work flexibly. Such a request is made to your employer in writing. It's by no means guaranteed that your request will be accepted. It may be to that by adjusting the times you work or indeed the days then this will help with your childcare costs.

Of course adjusting your working hours is just one way of helping. Family and friends may also be able and actually really willing to take on some of the childcare responsibilities and hence effectively help financially without any money changing hands.

Government Funding - Tax Credits

Depending on your family circumstances you could get extra tax credits to help pay for some of your childcare costs while you’re working. You may be able to gain help through Universal Credit but you can't receive both at the same time.

It's surprising how many people are actually eligible who initially think they won't be. So it's really worth looking into. Once up and running it really isn't at all difficult.

https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/overview

https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/tax-credits

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Government Funding - Childcare Vouchers

Childcare Vouchers as they are still known were at one time actually paper vouchers which people handed over to childcare providers to be redeemed.

In today's environment the voucher is actually an electronic "voucher". The way it works in overview is that that your employer runs a childcare voucher scheme (usually subcontracted to a "voucher company" - of which there are many. You sign up for the scheme and request that part of your wages are actually paid in childcare vouchers. This is called salary sacrifice and is what gives you the saving. The salary you receive through the voucher scheme does not attract any National Insurance payments.

Your employer pays you the reduced amount and also transfers the amount agreed into your account with the voucher company. Once the money is in your account with the voucher company you can then release the money to your childcare provider. The childcare provider has to be registered with the voucher company before transfers can occur. It is essential you check with the childcare provider and inform them of which voucher company your employer uses. It is probable that your childcare provider will require proof that the payment has gone through.

Eligibility for vouchers is not dependant upon anything. However, you do need to have an employer and to be earning enough to make it worth while.

https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/childcare-vouchers

Government Funding - Staffordshire CC Funded Places

Staffordhire County Council Early Years funding is great! All children aged 3 and 4 are entitled (yes entitled) to receive this funding for childcare places.

This funding can be thought of in two ways. Either it can be thought of as a great way to reduce the cost of the childcare you have already been getting. Or it can be thought of as a great way of getting your child free sessions of childcare.

Because the government (through the council) are providing the funding there are additional rules that have to be followed. The rules are difficult to follow but they do need to be followed in order for your child to gain funding.

The government funded preschool sessions that Chuckle Bunnies provides are for 3 and 4 year olds. They are available each day: 8:30am to 11:30am in the morning and 1pm to 4pm in the afternoon. The funding can be used for up to a maximum of 5 such sessions per week in any combination. The funding can be used at more than one childcare setting during the week, but this does not apply to schools where they take all of the funding.

The sessions above are free and no money will be requested from you. However, there are some conditions which apply:

You must provide your child's original birth certificate to the nursery

You must provide proof of your address

There are some forms that also need to be completed and signed

Your child must attend for the whole of the sessions for which you have signed up for. Failure to do so may mean that the childcare setting will have its funding withheld and may seek payment from you.

Should your child not attend for a pre-booked session then you will be required to sign to confirm the reason for their absence. Again if these are not provided then the funding may be withheld and you may be asked for payment.

The funding is for a term at a time. These terms are not the same as school terms. The term length and dates are defined by the childcare setting within a set of requirements determined by the council. When taking up the government funding you are signing up for the whole of the term. Whilst it is possible to change providers mid term, one month's notice is required.

It is, however, possible to sign up part way through the term and not have to wait for the next term. However, the funding for missed sessions can not be claimed at another time.

For some people, the totally free funded sessions provide everything they need. However, for others the times do not meet their full needs. Where this is the case additional "wrap around" sessions are available at an additional cost. It is therefore possible to make use of the government funded sessions and then effectively extend them beyond the session times. (However, it is important to remember the additional conditions placed upon you given the use of the funding.) The cost of a full day can therefore be reduced considerably by making use of the funding.

Staffordshire County Council 3 and 4 year old Funding

Want to know more?

If you'd like to know more then why not give the nursery a ring and arrange a tour?

We'd love to help.