There is new funding in place for some 2 year olds to attend a pre-school from September 2013. To be eligible for this funding the child either needs to be looked after by their local authority or if the family of the two year old meets one of the criteria listed below they are eligible for the funding:
- income support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (but not 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)
Everyone else receives 15 hours of free pre-school education from the term before a child turns 3. This can be in a private nursery, or a school nursery. You have to apply for your nursery funding through the government by early January and then you find out if you get your place in early April there is then a second stage if you were unsuccessful which you find out at the end of May.
So what does this mean for an average family who are not claiming benefits?
You start to receive your free 15 hours depending on which month your child was born in so despite the fact that your child will be going into the same academic year as another this does not mean you receive the same amount of free child care as the other children in the class. It is divided as below:
Born between 1 January to 31 March 2010 – from April 2013
Born between 1 April to 31 August 2010 – from September 2013
Born between 1 September to 31 December 2010 – from January 2014
Born between 1 January to 31 March 2011 – from April 2014
Born between 1 April to 31 August 2011 – from September 2014
So do you think this system is fair and how do you think it should work?
Here at Mojomums we think that if an academic year is divided into an academic year – then surely funding for all the children in that academic year should be the same? It means some children don’t go to pre-school and go straight to a nursery school as they do not get any funding if they are born between April and August, yet others will have been at a pre-school since January and will have had a better grounding so going to a nursery school with uniform and potentially more structure it will seem more natural to them as they have spent time away from parents and are they used to more structured play and learning.
As for the new funding for 2 year olds, it only really helps the minority who are on benefits, what about all those mums who have left skilled roles and want to return to work, but by the time you look at private nursery costs and potentially reduced pay for reduced hours to allow some quality time with your child, it becomes not financially viable for them to return to work. Surely help should be given to those trying to give back to the economy and get back into the workplace and not given to those who are unemployed and therefore have the time to look after their 2 year olds?
We’d love to get your thoughts on this issue, let us know your situation and what you would like to see done to help you?