High quality child care should be accessible for everyone and for those who are 3 and 4 years old to prepare them for full time life at primary school. Therefore, every 3 and 4 year old in the Dudley Borough is entitled to 15 hours of Universal hours from the beginning of the academic year following their third birthday. 570 hours can be accessed flexibly each year to encourage nursery/preschool attendance and the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills covering the 7 areas of Learning and Development as laid out within the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance.
An additional 15 hours per week is also available to families of 3 and 4 year old children where both parents in the household work for a minimum of 16 hours per week at minimum wage or have a typical income of £125+ each per week. This gives an additional 570 hours per child per year and can again, be used flexibly to access your chosen child care provider. For example, if attending a setting which is open term time, for 38 weeks of the year a family could use 30 hours of funding each week to fit in with available sessions at that provider. If a family chooses a childcare setting which is open for 51 weeks of the year (such as Little Hands) and their child will attend throughout half terms and school holidays; this funding can be stretched to allow a consistent attendance pattern for families. This might look like 22.3 hours of funding available each week for 51 weeks of the year. This could be 2 days at nursery for 9 hours and an additional half day session every week of the year that the setting is open. This could be 5 half day sessions per week. It might be that you need 4 or 5 full days of childcare each week and the available funded hours could significantly reduce your yearly childcare costs.
You can even personalise meal packages, paying only for the meals that your session is inclusive of; or packing lunch and snacks from home.
Little Hands has a parent resource available to all families which details the available options should you choose to use 15 hours or 30 hours of funding with us throughout your childcare journey. We aim to make our options suitable to a wide range of family needs whilst also ensuring that each child will benefit fully from the provision available within our Outstanding settings.
15 hours of funding is also available for some 2 year old children and is dependent on certain benefits being received by parents in the household or because of certain circumstances in a child’s life such as receiving Disability Living Allowance, having an Education, Health and Care plan or having been in the care of the Local Authority. More information around eligibility and how to apply for any types of funding can be found here: https://www.dudley.gov.uk/residents/early-years-and-childcare/for-parents-and-carers/
Our teams are knowledgable about funding options and always keen to help, please don’t hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions and want to find a funding package that works for you.