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The Government wants YOUR views on its plans to offer 30 hours of free childcare...


We've been contacted by the Department of Education because they want to hear YOUR views about the Government's plan to deliver 30 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds

At the moment, all parents working the equivalent of 16 hours a week (up to a maximum salary of £100,000 a year) are eligible for 15 hours free childcare for a 3 to 4 year-old. And the Government has now pledge to double that to 30 free hours.

Before that happens, though, there's going to a public consultation about how exactly to deliver the extended entitlement. And that means you can have your say!

The Department of Education has asked us to say: "We are encouraging parents to get involved and take part in the consultation which seeks mums' and dads' views on some of the key elements of the operation and delivery of the 30-hour extended free entitlement.

"This includes how the entitlement will be delivered, and how it will meet and be responsive to the needs of working parents who may be working all sorts of shift patterns."

You can take part in the consultation by sharing your views and opinions on the Government's site here.

Or you can add a post to this thread and tell us what you think right here on MadeForMums Chat – and we'll then pass it on to the Government for you.

You could tell us, for example, if it would help you to have the entitlement to free childcare stretched to run all year round, rather than just during term-time.

Or if you think the offer should be provided from 6am to 8pm to better suit shift-working parents.

Or anything else you'd like the Government to bear in mind when it rolls out the new entitlement. They really would like to hear from you!


  • This is a tough one as i guess it is all relative to everyones personal situation. So considering we all don't just do 9-5, i guess i would like this too be made as flexible as possible really. So we are free to use those hours as and when we want - but then it also comes down to the nursery provider - what it they only operate a 9-12 nursery? It's a tough one for sure, but i for one will be so glad to not have to spend so much on nursery care.

  • Totally agree with Mrsg14, these hours need to be flexible or they do not work for everyone. Currently a lot of nurseries are quite with rigid in the way they offer there 15 hours and you have to choose either morning or afternoon sessions daily abd you are not always able to pay to extend to full days which is totally pants for some parents if you're wanting to send your child to a preschool attached to a school. 

    I am fortunate and my daughter goes to a private nursery and they let you spread the hours. We spread ours over the whole year so she is still in nursery during school holidays. 

    I have recently become a trustee of the nursery and I know they are dreading the implementation of the 30hrs as they do not receive as much money for the government for these places as they do for a private paying parent. 

    i strongly believe that these 30 hours should only be offered to parents who are working at least 30 hours. If it is offered to everyone like the 15 hours is then I think this is unfair. When these parents then get s job they should then be entitled otherwise yoy will get the minority who just use it as a way to get rid of the kids and do nothing! 

    I'm hoping this is in place for when our babies (oct 15) are in nursery!

  • I totally agree with Abihylands "i strongly believe that these 30 hours should only be offered to parents who are working at least 30 hours".

    Parents who are stay at home mums should not get the free 30 hours, I believe it should be used as an incentive to work. The hours you get free should be equal to the hours you work, i.e. if you work 20 hours a week you can get 20 hours free not the full 30 hours.

  • What would happen if you work 20hrs a week but it's a 45 min commute each way? Realistically that'd add an extra 2hrs to each shift you work allowing for commuting there/back during which you'd need childcare still.

    Personally I'd rather have less hours aged 3/4 and be allowed some free hours aged 2/3 instead as working parents are getting penalised at this age as those on benefits are entitled to free hours from that age 

  • As a registered childminder who also offers the funded hours and will be able to offer the 30 hours if it's worthwhile and I am not out of pocket, this is my opinion.

    The reason behind the initiative needs to be remembered, it's to get parents back into work, become self sufficient and reduce the benefits bill. So therefore, it should be offered only and while both parents are in work and in my opinion, these parents should contribute at least the top-up amount between what the gov pays and actual hourly rate. In most cases it would be around £1-2 pounds an hour out of their pockets, but seeing as they are working, it's affordable. Having children and working is expensive, but I don't think the taxpayer should bear the brunt of the entire cost.

    this could stop parents using child are hours meant for work, to go shopping, to the gym and visiting friends. Hours are flexibke but contracted and there are childcare providers out there who DO start working in the early hours, provide late evenings, even overnight care, shift patterns etc, all dependent on what is required but usually you would need to look at childminders to find this type of flexibility. Nurseries are only one childcare sector who provide funded hours, I wish all these reports would include childminders who would be more likely to be able to offer the 30 hours.

  • I work 28.5 hours a week over 3 days (not including my lunch break I'm not paid for but need to take) and i work this because on those 3 days I have a babysitter available to watch my son.

    i think it should be made available to every working parent as this would allow me to return to work full time or as close to it as possible instead of doing weekend overtime which means I miss out on time as a family. 

    I don't agree you should only get it if you work 30 hours but then maybe thats because of the situation I feel I'm in. It would probably cost too much to have it case specific but in an ideal situation I think that would be the best bet. Also hoping that the people work in the nursery aren't financially affected by it. 

  • It is great for England but Northern Ireland does not qualify for any free childcare.I know we get the extra school year,but with a 20 month old and wanting to work days,rather than evenings as I do at the moment because of childare costs and myself and partners wages being over the income for any help,it's not easy.

  • Hi 

    Could anyone answe a question I have re; the 30 hours childcare please. 

    I have a 3 year old daughter who currently attends a school nursery mornings and a private nursery afternoons and evenings up until 6pm mon to fri. 

    The 15 hours is taken by the school as I've heard that Schools get first preference for the funding.

    My daughter turns 4yrs old in July 2017  and she will start full time reception at school. I will then continue to pay for the private nursery after school. 

    I meet the criteria for the 30 hours, but will this 30 hrs go straight to the school again or a man I entitled to any of this funding towards my private nursery bill?

    any feedback would be great as the local authorities can't answer this question and my nursery is unsure too. 

  • Hi Pammi79, that's a very good question indeed. We're going to look into this further, and come back to you as soon as we have an answer. 

  • Thankyou, much appreciated 😀

  • Everyone, working or not qualifies for the current 15 hours Earlay Education Funding. From Sept 17, only families with both parents working minimum 16 hours each will qualify For additional 15 hours.

    The issue is, parents will be saving 15 +15 hours of childcare per week, contibute nothing but Childminders and Nurserues are expected to extend hours to accommodate these hours, but absorb the cos, so ultimately end up susidising these childre. As a childminder, my hourly rate is £6.50, my rate received for funded children is £4.15, so I lose £2.35 per hour x 15 hours per week! £1200 roughly, per funded child, per year.  How is that fair? I cannot take on additional children as we are limited by ratios of 1:3 so my income is capped by hav only 3 under 5's.

    I think settings should be able to charge the difference to parents or none will be offering the funded hours as we would run at a loss. Without us, parents cannot work.......perhaps more investment should be put into the childcare providers, so this initiative does not fail.

  • As much as I think it's a good idea, because of the age limit I cannot use the 15 hours currently on offer. I have had to give up work until my son is old enough to qualify because financially for me to work and pay for childcare it doesn't add up. Yes we can pay the bills on 1 wage but it doesn't leave a lot left over so we are not wealthy by any means, and we are not entitled to any help or benefits as my husband earns £1500 a year too much. I think you'd class us as the forever squeezed middle, earn too much for help and too little to live without worry. I chose to have my son, he is my responsibility but without a huge amount of family help and unable to afford to pay for childcare he is with me until he is old enough to get any free hours. How about reducing the age limit instead of just increasing the number of hours? Equally it needs to be flexible for all those of who work shift work, they are more common than the 9-5ers these days. 

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