As we start a new education year we continue to see a rise in the number of parents using government funded hours. Please make sure that you keep an eye on your HMRC account and re-validate your details every 3 months, there are still a small number of parents who have issues and if your 3 months falls at the start of the term it can cause problems. We don’t want anyone to miss out.
If you haven’t signed your parent declaration form yet for the local authority, please ensure you do it immediately otherwise we will not be able to claim your funded hours.
As there are a lot of parents new to funding, so we thought we would answer some of the more frequently asked questions and remind you of our terms when using funded hours. Hopefully, the points below will address any concerns you have, but if they don’t, you can get in touch with us for further advice.
- The 30 hours are provided by the government for 38 weeks of the year. These hours can be stretched out over the whole year at a rate of 20 hours per week worth of funding. This is our standard model and enables the same monthly bill, as well as keeping our admin costs low.
- If you don’t use your full 30 hours you will lose any remaining – they can’t be built up and used during the summer holidays. So, we would always suggest maximising your 30 hours and provide your child with as many early years educational opportunities as possible.
- Parents who are only attending days that are covered fully by funded hours will be required to sign a form allowing the nursery to change which days they attend, with notice, to enable the efficient operation of the nursery capacity. We expect this to be minimal and in exceptional circumstances only.
- The government, not Tiptoes, limit the hours that can be used during free session/days to 10 hours per day. At Tiptoes the session is 8am to 6pm. So, this means you will not be able to come into the nursery between 07:30 – 08:00 on your funded days. We can provide a contract with parents for these 30 mins at a cost of £5 for each morning. These must be contracted and cannot be as and when used due to administration and monitoring.
- If you are attending nursery for more than just your funded hours, (i.e. 3, 4 or 5 days per week) then you can arrive at 07:30 without any additional charges.
- The 30 hours can be split over 2 different settings. Due to the restrictions on session length by the government, we recommend splitting the hours in 5 or 10 hour blocks to ensure you don’t lose any hours.
- Any unused hours cannot be used for ad-hoc sessions and funded days cannot be swapped for other days in the week if not used. So, if you don’t use all of your hours each week you will lose them.
- If you decide to use a Monday as part of your fully funded days, we cannot provide other days to cover the loss of days caused by Bank Holidays.
- You can still use childcare vouchers or tax-free childcare payments for any fees over the 30 hours, as you would currently do with the free 15 hours.
- Tiptoes cannot apply for your 30 hours. We will still automatically apply for your 15 hours, with your consent, but the extended entitlement to 30 hours has to be applied for by the parent on the HMRC website.
A quick reminder;
- Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare are two separate government schemes, to help parents with the cost of childcare. You can apply for both through one online application – the childcare service, https://www.gov.uk/sign-in-childcare-account
- To qualify for either scheme, parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week (on average) and not more than £100,000 each a year.
- All Parents can use Tax-Free Childcare alongside the 3 & 4 year old 15 and 30 hours free childcare schemes.
- Parents can’t use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as they receive childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. However, 3&4 year old 30 hours funded childcare can be received alongside these schemes.
- The Tax-Free Childcare System can be used by all parents regardless of age. If you have to pay childcare fees you can use the tax-free childcare system to pay for all or some of your fees. Just like most parents do with childcare vouchers.
- The Tax-Free Childcare system is replacing childcare vouchers, which will phase out over time. You can still use childcare vouchers and Tiptoes still accepts all childcare vouchers.