What's Current

Tax Free Childcare
 
Overview Tax-Free Childcare is a new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare. Parents will be able to open an online account, which they can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider. For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their childcare costs, or £4,000 for disabled children. 
The scheme will be available for children under the age of 12, or under 17 for children with disabilities. To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each expecting to earn at least £120 a week. Each parent must not have income over £100,000 per year.
Tax-Free Childcare scheme launch to parents - Tax-Free Childcare will be introduced on 28 April 2017 and will then be gradually rolled out over 2017, with parents of children under two invited to enter the scheme first. Parents will be able to apply for all their children at the same time, when their youngest child becomes eligible. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017. Tax-Free Childcare will be available to around 2 million households to help with the cost of childcare, enabling more parents to go out to work, if they want to, to provide greater security for their families.
 
Ten things to know about Tax-Free Childcare:
1. You’ll be able to open an online account - You’ll be able to open an online account, which you can pay into to cover the cost of childcare with a registered provider. This will be done through the government website, GOV.UK. Tax-Free Childcare will be introduced on 28 April 2017, and will then be gradually rolled out over 2017. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.
2. For every 80p you or someone else pays in, the government will top up an extra 20p - This is equivalent of the tax most people pay - 20% - which gives the scheme its name, ‘tax-free’. The government will top up the account with 20% of childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 - the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).
3. The scheme will be available for children under the age of 12 - It will also be available for children with disabilities under the age of 17, as their childcare costs can stay high throughout their teenage years.
4. To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each earning at least £120 a week and not more than £100,000 each per year - The scheme is designed to be flexible for parents if, for example, they want to get back to work after the birth of a child or work part-time.
5. Any eligible working family can use the Tax-Free Childcare scheme - it doesn’t rely on employers offering it - Tax-Free Childcare doesn’t rely on employers offering the scheme, unlike the current scheme Employer-Supported Childcare. Any working family can use Tax-Free Childcare, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
6. The scheme will be available for parents who are self-employed - Self-employed parents will be able to get support with childcare costs in Tax-Free Childcare, unlike the current scheme (Employer-Supported Childcare) which is not available to self-employed parents. To support newly self-employed parents, the government is introducing a ‘start-up’ period. During this, self-employed parents won’t have to earn the minimum income level. The scheme will be available to parents on paid sick leave and paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
7. If you currently receive Employer-Supported Childcare then you can continue to do so You do not have to switch to Tax-Free Childcare if you do not wish to. Employer-Supported Childcare will continue to run. The current scheme will remain open to new entrants until April 2018. Parents already registered by this date will be able to continue using it for as long as their employer offers it. However, Tax-Free Childcare will be open to more than twice as many parents as Employer-Supported Childcare. Employers’ workplace nurseries won’t be affected by the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare.
8. Parents and others can pay money into their childcare account as and when they like - This gives you the flexibility to pay in more in some months, and less at other times. This means you can build up a balance in your account to use at times when you need more childcare than usual, for example, over the summer holidays. It’s also not just the parents who can pay into the account - if grandparents, other family members or employers want to pay in, then they can.
9. The process will be as simple as possible for parents - The process will be as easy as possible for you. For example, you’ll re-confirm your circumstances every 3 months using a simple online process; and there will be a simple log-in service where parents can view accounts for all of their children at once.
10. You’ll be able to withdraw money from the account if you want to - If your circumstances change or you no longer want to pay into the account, then you’ll be able to withdraw the money you have built up. If you do, the government will withdraw its corresponding contribution. More information will be available ahead of the scheme being introduced so parents making childcare decisions are able to consider all their options.
 
Ready to Learn campaign
 
A new campaign has been launched by the Education Secretary Kirsty Williams as part of the “Education begins at home” initiative, the ‘Ready to Learn’ campaign is designed to help parents and carers prepare their child for school through a range of engaging resources available from schools and nurseries.  
 
The materials include a leaflet for parents an activity chart for parents and carers to work through with their child and a short animation.
 
Packs have been distributed to primary schools, sessional day care providers and nurseries. If they’d like to know more you can contact caryl.tudorjones@wales.gsi.gov.uk<mailto:caryl.tudorjones@wales.gsi.gov.uk
 
Education begins at home campaign
Helping your child at home makes a difference to their performance in school.
 
The home environment is the single biggest factor in educational attainment. By creating an environment that values education and supports a child’s learning, parents are giving their child a significant head start in life.
 
Education begins at home on Facebook and Twitter is a place for parents and carers to share ideas on how to help their child through education and play. Members are encouraged to post useful links to activities and learning tools that can help children develop their learning skills.  Information and links to a wide variety of education based topics is also available on the page.
 
For more information and resources about the education begins at home campaign you can download the campaign information pack. 
 

Parenting Give it time - make the most of your time together

Tricky Moments & Common Behaviours
Most families have times that are difficult to manage. Here are some ideas for dealing with some common parenting concerns. Every child is unique, but these tips may help.
  • Tantrums 
  • Bedtime 
  • Coping with a crying baby 
  • Toilet or potty training 
  • Mealtimes 
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