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There has been a huge amount of media coverage about the cost of childcare recently, so we thought we would focus our latest blog to tell you about how you can claim free childcare for your three old next term.
Free childcare – really?!
The cost of childcare is a huge expense for most families. In a recent survey by The Family and Childcare Trust, research showed that the average weekly cost of nursery care for children over two years old in the South East is around £128.17p (based on 25 hours per week). The majority of families require childcare for longer periods than that, so you can imagine that the monthly cost of this soon mounts up.
To help lessen the expense, the government have introduced the Early Years Free Entitlement (EYFE).
What is the Early Years Free Entitlement?
The Early Years Free Entitlement (EYFE) is funding given by the government to local authorities to provide free, part time early education for all three and four year olds. All providers who offer the EYFE must be registered with Ofsted, and deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
Your child will be entitled to these hours from the term after their third birthday:
All children are entitled to receive EYFE up until the term in which they turn five years old (compulsory school age). If your child starts Reception class at a Local Authority School before they reach this age, their EYFE will be used by the school.
Brilliant! Can I claim all of my childcare costs this way?
No. Children are entitled to a total of 570 EYFE hours over twelve months. This works out at 15 hours per week, spread across 38 weeks of the year, on a termly basis.
All nursery providers offer the EYFE hours differently. At Officreche we offer them term-time only, and in morning (8am-1pm), afternoon (1pm-6pm) or whole day (8am-6pm) sessions. We have a 16 place pre-school room, with spaces for a maximum of eight funded sessions at any time, allowing the space for us to still offer the flexible sessions for those who need it.
There are national limits set by the government about how the EYFE can be offered, which are:
What’s the catch? Does ‘free’ really mean ‘free?’
There’s no catch. If you want your child to attend nursery for the 15 hours only, then you shouldn’t have to pay anything. At Officreche we don’t charge extra for anything – all we ask is that you bring in your own packed lunch or tea, plus nappies and spare clothes, as we do for all the children who attend the setting.
However, this may not be the case for all early years providers. Some settings may charge for ‘extras,’ so it’s always best to check before you commit to joining a new setting. For information about how other settings offer the EYFE, please contact the Family Information Service on 01273 293545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because we offer the EYFE hours during term-time only, we will be able to offer you our ‘fixed-creche’ rate during the school holidays (£25 per half day), if you wish for your child to attend all year round. We do require a deposit of £150 for these sessions, which is refundable to you when you leave the setting.
Fantastic! How do I sign up?
To find out more about Officreche and our availability to offer the EYFE hours for your child, please contact us on 01273 434244 or email@example.com for a chat and/or to arrange a visit.