A new ‘childcare costs grant’ up to the value of £2,000 has been launched exclusively for care workers.
This grant is available from the Care Workers Charity (CWC), as part of the charity’s Coronavirus Emergency Fund, launched in March for care workers financially hit by the pandemic.
The grant can be used retrospectively covering childcare costs from 23 March up to the value of £2,000.
Care workers can apply for childcare costs for children up to five years old – for up to £125 per week and for childminder costs for six to twelve-year olds during term time – up to the value of £70 per week. They can also apply for holiday childcare costs up to the value of £150 per week.
Karolina Gerlich, executive director at the CWC, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this new grant, which we know will be a lifeline to so many care workers who have struggled to juggle the demands of their work and families.
“We are hoping this new support will go some way to help make up for the considerable sacrifices many care workers have made, and all at their own cost.”
The CWC states on its website: ‘We will deal with applications on a case by case basis and till funds last’.
The full story, as reported in homecare.co.uk can be read here.
Ofsted has announced that from September this year, it will start to re-visit nurseries and childminders to ensure standards are being maintained and “well-run, safe and effective childcare is available for all who need it.”
It has published its guidance on interim visits which details how these visits will work in practice and which childcare providers inspectors will be visiting.
The visits are part of its phased return to routine inspection, details of which can be found here and it emphasises that they are not ‘inspections’ and will not result in an inspection grade, though inspectors will still be able to use regulatory or enforcement powers if necessary.
Routine inspections of early years settings will not start before January 2021.
Findings from the visits will be published in an outcome summary so that parents can be reassured that their children are safe while routine inspections are suspended.
On the official government Ofsted website, it states that “inspectors will be sensitive to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and will always take that context into account. We will prioritise the safety and welfare of everyone involved in the visits, including children, carers, staff and inspectors, following the most up-to-date guidance from Public Health England.”
The news story, as published on the Government’s Ofsted website can be found here.
Léla and Karen from Child First Aylesbury Nursery walked 5 miles across Aylesbury as part of the ‘Not the Midnight Walk’ to raise funds for the Florence Nightingale hospice. Their superb efforts raised £337.50 (including gift aid) for the charity. Child First in Aylesbury will continue to support and fundraise for Florence Nightingale Hospice as the local charity they have chosen to support this year.
Léla White, Nursery Manager said; “We chose to do the midnight walk as the Florence House Hospice is the charity we have chosen as a team to support and raise money for this year, being local to us and close to a lot of staff and our parents hearts – a few having used the service for family members.
She continued; “The experience of doing the run was both inspirational and rewarding, regardless of the rain and getting very wet! It was 100% worth it for the amount we raised for such a great cause.”
Parents who have paid into childcare voucher schemes are being denied refunds by their employers, despite not being able to use the vouchers during lockdown. Some say they have built up balances of more than £1,000.
Although the tax-efficient scheme closed to new applicants in October 2018, those who have already signed up are able to continue to buy the vouchers. In financial terms, if two parents contribute the maximum, vouchers could cut the cost of childcare by £1,866 a year, according to the scheme.
But with childcare providers closed over lockdown, many parents have built up a surplus of vouchers they now can’t use in the future — this could be because their children are starting school in September. It has been reported that when some parents have asked employers for their money back, they have been told no.
One provider Sodexo, says: ‘Refunds are not possible under salary sacrifice contracts.
Another, Fideliti Childcare Vouchers, says: ‘Childcare vouchers are non-refundable and can only be used to pay for childcare, so you should only order vouchers you are able to use.’
Early Years Vouchers says no refunds are made to employees under ‘normal circumstances.’
HMRC says refunds are at the employer’s discretion, adding that they would need to deduct the appropriate tax and National Insurance.
The full story, as reported by thisismoney.co.uk can be found here.
A “perfect storm” of rising childcare costs and providers closing down could make it “impossible” for some parents to return to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, Labour says.
The opposition party says childcare costs in England have risen up to three times as fast as wages since 2010 and is calling on the government to “urgently provide targeted support” to the childcare sector.
In response, the government said the sector had received “significant” support.
Since 1st June, when early years providers have been allowed to open to all children, the government has said people who can, no longer have to work from home. However, Labour warns that many parents will struggle to return to workplaces without adequate childcare, particularly if families cannot rely on grandparents for help due to the virus.
It says “long-term underfunding and a lack of targeted support during the coronavirus pandemic, will make it impossible for many providers to remain viable”.
The party refers to research carried out by Early Years Alliance which found that 25% of childcare providers in England are at risk of closing in the next year.
Last month, the alliance also published data suggesting that since reopening nurseries have only been operating at 37% of their capacity, creating financial pressure for providers.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green said: “Ordering parents back to work without allowing them to access the childcare they need is a stark reminder that Boris Johnson is completely out of touch with the needs of working families.”
The full story, as reported by the BBC can be found here.
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