The key points from the Budget 2023 announcement
- 30 hours of free childcare will be available for every child over the age of 9 months with working parents by September 2025. Eligibility will match the existing 3-4 year-old 30 hours offer.
- This will be introduced in phases. 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of 2-year-olds coming into effect in April 2024. 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of 9 months – 3 years old in September 2024.
- The funding paid to nurseries for the existing free hours offers will also be increased by £204 million from this September rising to £288 million next year.
- Schools and local authorities will be funded to increase the supply of wraparound care. Parents of school age children can drop their children off between 8am and 6pm – tackling the barriers to working caused by limited availability of wraparound care.
- Childcare providers will now have the option to change minimum staff : child ratios from one 1:4 to 1:5 for two-year-olds. This is to give childcare providers more flexibility in how they operate and bring England in line with Scotland.
What are class providers for 0-5 year olds saying about the Budget 2023 announcement?
We shared the news with the 3.4k members in our children’s activity provider Facebook group. There were an assortment of opinions, with a variety of those who both saw the positives and negatives that could come from this change.
“For several reasons! (Firstly) the effect on our sector with fewer children. Mothers aren’t going to commit to a group if they are returning to work so soon. Even if they work part-time they are less likely to want to tie up their few days off. (Secondly) the pressure from extended family and the benefits agencies. ‘There’s free childcare, why aren’t you working?’. (Thirdly) the pressures on the childcare providers to ensure they give quality care to younger children with increased ratios.”
“Just hoping all properly funded with appropriate ratios and a plan for how to recruit skilled early years practitioners who are paid a fair rate for the tough job they do. But as a mum who went back to work flexibly when my kids were 1, this would have been amazing! Here’s hoping it means parents have a few more pennies to spend on our sector on their days not at work…”
Our class providers have also stated the following:
What happens next?
Whilst we’ve been told the basics of what the government has planned from the 2023 budget, the details will be defined over the coming weeks.
The free childcare for 9 months – 3 year olds will be introduced in phases. Starting in 2024, it’ll be at least a year before we start seeing any of these changes being made.
The conversation will continue in our Children’s Activity Provider Community on Facebook so join us if you haven’t already.
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