The Childcare Offer in Wales is now well into the piloting stage and more areas will be joining in to offer the additional childcare hours over the coming months. Cwlwm Partner organisations have been working on the ground in some pilot areas to help providers to be ready for children whose parents want to take advantage of the Childcare Offer.
Of course, for some families this will mean that instead of paying for all childcare, then a parent pays less or minimum costs as they are already paying for some care. For others it may provide the opportunity to make changes to working hours and either return to work or increase hours. Cwlwm partners are already supporting providers in community and school settings to adapt so that they can offer parents continuity of childcare ranging from those who want to link with schools to provide care following attendance at Foundation Phase funded settings (in schools or playgroups) or to extend places or hours by offering follow on sessions from playgroup or by enabling Day Nurseries to see the benefits of extending provision.
One size will not fit all and providers who want to be involved with the Offer will need to consider the best way to meet parents’ needs for their child’s care. Now is the time to start thinking about this and how it might work for you.
Examples of how this can happen are
Extending opening hours – are you located near a hospital, call centres or other employers who need flexible, shift workers, care home workers? Day nurseries can provide atypical hours to benefit families who need this flexibility
Providing holiday care if you currently only provider term-time care – so that children have continuity of care all year
Extending the number of CIW registered places that you provide
Linking up with local childminders to complement sessional provision
Opening satellite childcare provision in or close to schools who provide maintained nurseries
Partnering with other local providers, to ensure that childcare can be accessed all year round
Having decided that you want to participate and deliver the Childcare Offer, Are you ready? Will you need to make changes to the way your service currently operates? Worried about how the financial side will work?
If it is making changes or finance, then use your membership umbrella organisation as a sounding board and support to find out what other providers have done and how different parts of the sector can work together to make this successful for the families that you work with and for your business. Business Wales may also be able to support you. The Cwlwm partnership is working with some local authorities with our “Fit for the Offer” tool which helps you to assess your readiness to register and offer the service.
Remember, that not all parents will want to take up all the additional 20 hours in addition to the existing 10 hours Foundation Phase entitlement, so now is the time to ask your parents what they may be looking to use if your local authority is likely to join the pilot soon.
For those who may be waiting a year or two because they are not located in one of the early implementer local authorities, why don’t you link with your local Parent and Toddler groups or other early years activity groups to see if you can talk to parents about what they anticipate?
The Welsh Government’s #Talkchildcare campaign answers frequently asked questions for providers at
Whatever your decision or plan, the Cwlwm partnership organisations can help you and signpost you to develop your service.
For contact information visit:
Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs:
National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA Cymru):
Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (Pacey Cymru):
Wales Pre-School Providers Association (Wales PPA):