This is a critical time for parents to make an informed choice about what form of financial support to access to assist them with their childcare costs. The government has introduced a new form of support, Tax-Free Childcare, while the Childcare Vouchers scheme is currently due to close to new entrants only in April 2018. This means that, in order to benefit from that scheme, parents will need to have signed up to it before then. Some families will be better off using Tax-Free Childcare (approximately 30%), while others will be better off using Childcare Vouchers, Tax Credits, or a combination of both (approximately 70%). It can be complex working out what is best in each individual situation, so to make the best choice for their family, we recommend that parents read our Big Changes, Big Choices guide and call our Family Benefits Advice Service on freephone 0800 028 3008 for advice.
Please click here to download: Big Changes, Big Choices guide
Northern Ireland Universal Credit Information Booklet, dated Sept 2016 from the Department of Communities explaining that:
Universal Credit is a new payment for working age people, aged 18 to 64, who are on a low income or out of work which will be introduced in Northern Ireland on a phased geographical basis from September 2017. Universal Credit will help make sure individuals are better off in work than on benefits and give them the help they need to prepare for work, start work or earn more money. It will include support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, as well as financial support for dis-abled people, carers and people who are too ill to work.
Also, the Citizen’s advice website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk has a helpful summary of what is required in applying for Universal Tax Credits.
Researchers at Northumbria University are currently undertaking an evaluation into holiday clubs for children. As part of this research, they would like to find out further information on the organisations providing holiday clubs. As there is currently no national database on holiday clubs, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger intends to gain a better understanding of existing provision. The aim of this national survey is to improve understanding of the location and types of holiday clubs available to children and their families. Findings from this survey will be presented to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.
If you would like to participate, on behalf of your organisation, we invite you to complete the online survey. The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.
Responses to the ‘Early Childhood Workforce Development Survey 2017’, being carried out on behalf of the Childcare Partnerships, have reached an encouraging 37%.
The purpose of the survey, underlying the importance of obtaining the best response rate as possible, is to:
- Clarify the availability of childcare places and their location across Northern Ireland;
- Profile the current qualifications held by early years practitioners; Identify future training and qualification needs;
- Inform and support the development of early years policy, including the Executive childcare strategy; and
- Facilitate the development of a business case aimed at supporting sectoral need
Your continuing assistance in completing survey submissions, sharing information on the survey and encouraging others to complete responses remains vitally important. The questionnaire can be completed online (preferred) via survey monkey. Alternatively, a hard copy can be obtained by contacting and returning to Early Years HQ on 028 9066 2825 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Childhood Workforce Development Survey 2017 (online survey)