Children's Clubs & Activities

Apr 7, 2010

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In an ever-growing environment where both parents work, the demand for out of school childcare provision has never been greater.

Category: Childrens Clubs and Activities
Posted by: Clare

And with limited options, many parents opt to work part time or take shifts to accommodate the school calendar, but invariably this still means working some of the long school holidays or on the occasional teacher-training day that can throw the family’s schedule off balance.  Even with this finely tuned juggling act, many parents find that at some stage or other, childcare will need to be sought. So, apart from asking the grandparents (priceless and trusted childcare saviours often used as the first port of call for many parents) what childcare is out there?

Out Of Hours - Extended Schools
The Government wants all schools to provide access to extended childcare services by 2010 with half of all primary schools doing so by 2008.  Primary schools are to offer access to high quality childcare provided between 8am and 6pm on the school site or through other local providers such as child minders, with supervised transfer arrangements where appropriate.
Within childcare, schools can offer a varied menu of activities at breakfast clubs, after school clubs, holiday play schemes and at special interest clubs that focus on homework, sport, music tuition and dance – each enhancing and enriching a child’s learning experience.  But of course there should also be opportunities for children to simply relax, play and unwind in a safe environment.

What’s Available?

After School Clubs:
Usually operate from 3.30pm to 6pm to provide a place for children to go to once the school day has finished. Costs range from £3 to £10.

Breakfast Clubs:
Usually open from 8am until 9am.  Children can be dropped off and tuck into a healthy breakfast before the school day begins.  Costs range from £1 to £3.

Holiday Play Schemes:
These take place during the school holidays and offer children the chance to partake in a whole host of organised activities. Costs vary widely from £60 to £260!

Who Should Provide Extended Before And After School Services?
Schools do not have to provide all the services themselves.  They can simply act as the ‘host’ to childcare services.  So, the club may be in your child's school, another local school or on different premises where play workers escort children from school to the club.

What This Means For Children
It doesn’t mean children will be sitting in formal classes for longer periods each day. Out of school hours activities are, of course, voluntary and can play an important role in helping youngsters achieve their goals.

What This Means For Parents
This is about providing parents with greater choice, flexibility and convenience by helping them balance family and work commitments.  The 8am -6pm offer allows greater flexibility for parents to work full or part-time.

Funding
Parents will be charged for childcare.  Those parents on lower incomes are eligible for the childcare element of the working tax credit, for children up to age 14. This can cover up to 80% of childcare costs.

Help With Childcare Costs - Working Tax And Child Tax Credits
Tax credits are designed to provide payments of extra money to people bringing up children.  There are two types - Working Tax Credit (WTC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). You might be eligible for one or both. The amount you get is based on your circumstances at the time you make the claim and your previous year's income.  Both of these credits are means-tested – the more you earn, the less credit you receive.

Child Tax Credit
Child tax credit (CTC) is a payment to support families with children. You don't have to be working to claim it and any payment made is in addition to child benefit payments.
To be eligible you must have at least one dependent child and a joint income of less than £58,000 a year (£66,000 if the child is below the age of one). You may be still be eligible if you are earning more than this and have substantial childcare costs, so it may still be worth putting in a claim.

Working Tax Credit – Childcare Element
Everyone who qualifies for Working Tax Credit (WTC) receives the basic element, worth up to £1,665 depending on your income. There's also a childcare element - an extra allowance for working families who spend money on approved childcare. This includes a registered child minder, nursery or play scheme, an out-of-hours club on school premises run by a school or local authority, or a childcare scheme run by an approved provider. You can claim up to 80 per cent of childcare costs up to £175 a week for one child and £300 a week for two or more children.  Bear in mind you can’t claim childcare costs if you're paying a relative, nanny or other person who's not registered.

How Is The Childcare Element Paid?
If you're entitled to help with childcare costs through the Working Tax Credit, the money will be paid directly to the main carer.

Contacts:

Working Tax Credit (Inland Revenue)
Tel: 0845 300 3900
Website: www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk

New Deal For Lone Parents
Tel: 0800 868868
Website: www.newdeal.gov.uk

Childcare Link
Tel: 0800 096 0296
Website: www.childcarelink.gov.uk

DFES
Tel:  0870 000 2288
Website: www.dfes.gov.uk

SureStart
Tel:  0870 0002288
Website: www.surestart.gov.uk