What is Free Childcare for 2 Year Olds?
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is offering some 2 year olds a Free Childcare place for up to 15 hours per week. Non- working parents on certain benefits as well as those claiming working tax credits in low income jobs may be eligible. Parents do not have to take the full 15 hours, and children can have a place from the term after their 2nd birthday until the start of the term after their 3rd birthday.
Parents must meet the following criteria:
- Receive Income Support
- Receive Employment & Support Allowance income related
- Receive Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Receive Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
- Receive Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Receive Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of less than £16,190
- Receive Working Tax Credit and earn no more than £16,190 a year
- Child has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health, Care Plan (EHC)
- Child gets Disability Living Allowance in their own right
- Child has left care through a Special Guardianship Order, Adoption or Residence Order
- Child is in the care of the Local Authority eg Foster Care
What are the quality requirements to be an approved provider of Free Childcare for 2 Year Olds?
To be approved, providers must:
- Be registered with Ofsted on the Early Years Register
- Have an 'Outstanding' or 'Good' Ofsted grading. Providers with a 'Satisfactory/Requires Improvement' grade are still able to apply but they must be able to evidence a commitment to improving quality though active engagement with the Quality team (see below).
- Meet all the requirements of the Statutory Framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework including completion of a Self Evaluation form
- Attend appropriate and relevant training in all areas of two year old provision
- Hold a current Paediatric First Aid certificate
- Be registered with the Information Commissioners Office
- Hold a current Food Hygiene Certificate
Evidence shows that it is the quality of provision which makes a difference to the outcomes of young children in a childcare setting. The aim of the Free Childcare Places for the 2 Year Old initiative is to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers by giving them access to high quality provision. DFE have it made it clear to local authorities that they should use Good and Outstanding childcare providers where possible.
We will require all providers of funded places for two year olds who are graded 'satisfactory/requires improvement' to commit to working with our Local Authority Quality team, in order to improve their Ofsted grade to good or outstanding at the next inspection.
Training will also be offered to all two year old providers in order to continually assess and improve quality within the provision by identifying areas which need to be developed. The programme will allow practitioners to reflect on the provision they offer throughout the EYFS and consider organisation, resources and continuous self-evaluation.
Providers must note that the LA has the power to withdraw funding for the Free 2 Year Old Childcare if a 'Satisfactory/Requires Improvement' graded provider does not demonstrate sufficient quality improvement to deliver the places even after support and guidance have been actively offered.
How are eligible children signposted to providers?
Free Childcare Places for 2 Year Olds will be widely promoted to parents and to professionals who work with families such as Health Visitors, Social Workers and Children's Centre staff. There will also be an advertising campaign on buses and in relevant publications. In addition, each term a mail-shot is sent directly to parents that DfE have identified as being on the correct qualifying benefits and entitlements. A promotional postcard is sent to them inviting them to apply for a place.
The application process is managed by the Families Information Service who check if a child is eligible. They undertake a childcare search of all approved providers including day nurseries, childminders and school run provision in the local area. If there isn't any local provision the FIS will search for childminders further away who are willing to pick up and drop off.
FIS then send parents the details of suitable/available providers. Parents will contact the provider of their choice (if there is more than one available) to make arrangements to register their child. More details are on the enclosed Provider Guide showing the step by step process.
How will providers get paid and how much?
Childminders will be required to submit monthly attendance records which will enable them to be paid monthly for occupied places. Private day nurseries and playgroups will be asked to check and return a termly head count form at the start and end of each term, which will enable us to pay them for the children who have attended. This Head Count form is based on registration forms we receive from your setting throughout the term, so it is essential that these are sent via email to us, as soon as child starts at your setting.
We may pre-purchase a limited number of places in certain settings, to meet the needs of areas of high demand and/or limited childcare provision.
The rate of pay per child is £5.10 per hour. This equates to £2,907 per year for one full place.
How will providers send in monitoring?
Providers will receive training and support if necessary but all providers will need access to an email account.
What about children with additional needs?
Providers will be expected to meet the needs of all children using the above rate of pay. Only in extreme and complex cases of additional needs will there be any further funding and this will be subject to a thorough LA approval process before being agreed.
Support in meeting the needs of all children with additional needs will be available through training, advice and mentoring from the relevant professionals and Early Years Support Team.
What information will I receive about the child/children?
In most cases parents will provide all the necessary information about their children when they register with a provider.
If a child has additional needs or disability, the FIS will share details with a provider to ensure the child's needs can be met before signposting a parent. Where families are involved with any professionals such as Social Workers, any relevant information will be passed to the provider with the parents consent by the named Social Worker as appropriate.