PARENTS of young children can find it almost impossible to cover the costs of childcare while they work.
But From September 2014 things will get a little easier for some parents, with an extension of the Think 2 free childcare places for two-year-olds.
Sue Tatler is manager of Butterflies Day Nursery in Victoria Park. She welcomed the new funding:“All three and four-year-olds in England are entitled to fifteen hours of childcare each week, for 38 weeks of the year and some two-year olds are already eligible.
“Those children are gaining all the benefits of a good nursery education in terms of socialisation, fun and early learning.
“We are delighted that from September this year, more two-year-olds will be eligible for free places. It’s good news for those children and for parents who want to work.”
While free places for three and four year-olds are available to all children regardless of individual circumstances, the free education for two-year-olds has been provided to children in households receiving certain benefits. From September, more families will qualify for 15 hours nursery education per week.
For your two-year-old to receive free nursery care you must currently receive one of the following:
• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
• Support through part-6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
• Guaranteed element of the State Pension Credit
• Child Tax Credit (but now Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
• The Working Tax Credit 4-week run-on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).
From September this year more families will be eligible for support. As well as the current rules, a two-year-old will be entitled to free nursery care if any of the following apply:
• You receive Working Tax Credits and earn no more than £16,190 per year
• Your child has a current statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan
• You get Disability Living Allowance
• Your child has been adopted from local authority care
• Your child has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or residence order.
“We are pleased that these measures will remove some of the barriers to early years education for children and make it easier for parents to return to work or improve their qualifications,” said Sue Tatler.
Butterflies Day Nursery is part of Stafford College. The college provides parents earning up to £30,000 with subsidised childcare while they attend lectures and tutorials.
“While they learn, their child is receiving high quality childcare and getting a head start.”