Information for Parents

What is the Childcare Offer?

The Childcare Offer is 30 hours a week of free early education and childcare for eligible working parents of three and four-year-olds for up to 48 weeks of the year. It consists of a combination of the existing Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) provision open to all three and four-year-olds and additional funded childcare for eligible families.

How many hours of childcare am I eligible for?

The offer is a maximum of 30 hours of combined education and childcare.  Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council already provides every child with 12.5 hours of FPN education meaning that during term time, eligible parents can access an additional 17.5 hours of childcare.

Parents are not required to access their early education entitlement as a prerequisite to accessing the childcare element of the offer, however, their entitlement will include these hours whether they access them or not.

If additional Foundation Phase Nursery hours are offered/accepted the amount of childcare hours will be reduced accordingly.

When can I access the Offer?

The offer will begin from the term after a child’s third birthday until the September following their fourth birthday.

Parents can take up the childcare offer at any point during this time period, so long as they are eligible to do so.  Parents should be able to access the offer from whichever point they wish during that term, providing their child was eligible from the beginning of that term, or earlier.  This includes parents who move into the area or gain employment. 

Please note that you will only be eligible from the date stated on the confirmation letter you receive from the Childcare Offer team once your application has been processed.

Who is eligible for the Offer?

To access the childcare element of the offer parents/carers must:

•Live in Blaenau Gwent

•Be employed or self-employed and permanently reside in Wales.  Both parents /co-habiting couples must be working in a two parent family, or the sole parent in a lone parent family;

•Earn a weekly minimum equivalent of 16 hours at the national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW) (around £112.80 per week at the current NMW and NLW rate respectively)

For the purpose of the pilot, parents will need to prove they are working a minimum of 16 hours a week, through their earnings.  There will be no maximum earnings threshold for the pilots.

Where parents have separated but do not share equal custody of the child, the parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the offer (if they meet the eligibility criteria).  Where parents share equal custody one parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the offer.

Parents, guardians, step-parents and live-in partners will all need to meet the eligibility criteria in order for a child living within that household to be able to take up the offer.

What happens if I or my partner loses our job?

Should a parent fall out of eligibility, a temporary exemption period of 8 weeks will be granted during which they will be able to continue to access the offer.

Exceptions to eligibility:

There are some circumstances in which parents will be able to access the offer when they don’t meet the eligibility criteria:

•Where one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay or are in receipt of statutory maternity / paternity pay.

•Where one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits or has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring;

•Newly self-employed parents

•Kinship carers, family and friends carers who have taken responsibility for a child or step child who is not their own because:

·        The child has no parents or has parents who are unable to care for the child

·        It is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority because of concerns in relation to the child’s welfare

Can I use more than one childcare provider?

Yes you can use up to TWO registered childcare settings per day in addition to their FPN setting in any given day.

Can I accrue my hours?

No.  An accruals / banking system will not be in place from September 2017. Parents will be provided with a total of 30 hours a week of combined FPN provision and childcare with parents choosing how much of the 30 hours to take up.  Any hours not used in a week will be lost.

How will the offer work outside of term time?

The childcare offer will cover up to 48 weeks per year.  Foundation Phase Nursery Provision is available for up to 39 weeks per year, therefore eligible parents will be able to access 30 hours of childcare for the remaining 9 weeks of the year.

Eligible parents can access their 9 weeks of holiday provision whenever they chose.  However, it is the parent’s responsibility to find a provider that offers the provision that best suits their needs.  For the purpose of the pilots parents will need to access their provision in week long blocks.  Hours of childcare cannot be accrued across weeks.