Treasury expects schools to charge parents for wraparound childcare

Government tells Schools Week it expects 'most schools will be able to deliver the provision self-sufficiently' from 2026

Government tells Schools Week it expects 'most schools will be able to deliver the provision self-sufficiently' from 2026

The government expects schools to charge parents for “wraparound childcare” once pilot funding to get provision up and running ends in 2026.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt today announced an “ambition” for all primary schools to provide childcare between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

Government will provide £289 million in “start-up funding” over the next three financial years for schools and councils to “test options to increase the availability of wraparound childcare in the longer term”.

Spring budget documents add that national roll-out will happen over academic years 2024-25 and 2025-26. There was no mention of longer-term funding in the documents.

The Treasury has now told Schools Week that from September 2026, “we expect that most schools will be able to deliver before and after school provision self-sufficiently”. They provided the example of provision being “funded by parents”.

Asked whether the new “ambition” would be compulsory for schools, the department said it expects local authorities “to work with schools to design their provision to ensure it meets demand”.

The Department for Education said they “anticipate” the two year funding will be tapered so primary schools see payments reduce as they “build demand from parents, aiming to reach a point whereby their wraparound provision is self-financing and sustainable”.

But the two-year funding scheme is voluntary, DfE added. Schools can choose how to deliver it, for example by themselves, with other schools or in partnership with a private provider.

A March 2022 survey of nearly 300 primary schools by the Department for Education found that 64 per cent offered childcare before and after school.

A further 15 per cent offered it only before school, one per cent after school with 20 per cent saying they had no offer.

Of the 57 schools that did not provide childcare, the top three reasons were reported to be insufficient demand from parents (42 per cent), not being financially viable for the school (41 per cent) or that provision was provided offsite (37 per cent).

It’s also not yet clear if special schools would be included under the plans. The Treasury said DfE will set out how these schools are involved in the pilot “in due course”.

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