Childcare providers set to get right to apply for school-based services

By Jess Brown

| 07 December 2015

Childcare providers could be given the right to apply to deliver wraparound care using school facilities, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to offer out-of-school-hours childcare using school facilities. Picture: Peter Crane

Under proposals unveiled today, childcare providers will be given the "right to request" that a school allows it to use its facilities to provide care for the children of parents at either end of the school day and during school holidays.

It has propsed that schools manage the "right to request" process and governing bodies take the final decision about what action to take.

A consultation has been launched by the Department for Education that runs until the end of February 2016 to assess how schools and childcare providers can work better together. It will also find out how schools respond to wraparound childcare requests from parents and childcare providers.

At an event to launch the proposals, Cameron said: “This will open up good quality, affordable childcare for parents at either end of the school day and school holidays – taking pressure of budgets and helping them plan for the future.”

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan
announced plans to give parents the right to request wraparound childcare provision from schools in October.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT, said it is important that school leaders have the final say over whether a request is granted.

“We welcome the fact that the government has heeded our concerns, and that schools and parents will be able to work constructively together," he said.

“Wraparound childcare in schools is generally a good idea but there can be many reasons why a particular school can't offer it at any particular moment, including budgetary pressures.

“We welcome the fact that the draft advice aims to avoid imposing unnecessary burdens on schools and maintains school autonomy, while ensuring schools understand the basis on which they should be responding constructively to requests for wraparound childcare.”

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), welcomed the opportunity for schools and early years providers to work together.

“High quality early years partnerships add value to schools in delivering wraparound care.

"Many of our members already operate these partnerships, but some have to factor in complicated transport arrangements to bring children from schools to their nursery setting if they don’t have use of school facilities.

“We would like this to open the door on really constructive partnerships, creating that expectation that they can work together – but it should not feel forced."

Cameron also announced that around 5,000 children will take part in the pilots for the 30-hour free childcare implementation next year, a year ahead of national roll-out.

blog comments powered by Disqus