Brett Wigdortz OBE

Brett Wigdortz OBE, Chief Executive Officer

17 March 2023

Yesterday’s Spring Budget included a lot of announcements on childcare. We were thrilled to see that early years is finally getting the recognition it deserves - including some much deserved praise for childminders and the brilliant work they do! But with so many new announcements, I thought it would be helpful to share a summary of the most important updates, what they mean for you, and what tiney is planning to do next.

Extension 30 hours’ free childcare

The announcement: The Government has said it will expand the 30 hours’ free childcare entitlement to all children of working parents aged 9 months to 5 years. The new funding will be in addition to the current provision and will be phased in over the next two years, so will not involve any changes in the short-term. Here’s the timeline the Government has outlined:

  • April 2024 - all working parents of two year olds to be offered 15 hours’ free childcare
  • September 2024 - 15 hours’ free childcare to be extended to working parents of children aged 9 months and above
  • September 2025 - All working parents of children 9 months to 5 years will be eligible for 30 hours of funded childcare

What this means for childminders: This could mean that childminders are looking after a higher number of children on funded hours. This means the funding formula the Government sets will be critical in ensuring this makes sense for your business model.

What’s next: We’ll be working with the Government to ensure smooth access to this additional funding for both childminders, their agencies and the families they work with.

Increase in hourly funding rate

The announcement: The government is increasing the hourly funding rate paid to childcare providers to deliver the existing and new free hours offered in England. The government will provide £204 million in 2023-24, paid from September 2023, and £288 million in 2024-25 towards this.

What this means for childminders: No exact figures have been released yet, but initial conversations with decision makers indicate that funding for 1 and 2 year olds will be higher than current rates. The rates for 3 and 4 year olds are also still to be determined.

What’s next: We’ll be campaigning to ensure the government sets funding rates that will be sustainable for our community to carry on providing their services and that they work well with childminder agencies.

Start-up grants for new childminders

The announcement: The Chancellor announced that he will be introducing startup grants for new childminders: £600 for those who register with Ofsted, or £1,200 to those who register with a childminder agency like tiney

What this means for childminders: We hope that this will boost the number of people deciding to become childminders and ease the costs of choosing to open a new childminding business.

What’s next: Since the Budget Announcement the Government has confirmed that payouts from this scheme will commence in the Autumn, with eligibility for payouts being backdated to the date of the budget announcement. This means any new childminder who successfully registers with tiney on or after the 15th March 2023, will be eligible for the new £1200 bonus once the payouts begin.

Relaxing ratios

The announcement: The government is relaxing ratio rules for nurseries, enabling one adult to look after five 2-year-olds at one time (up from four currently). This policy will be effective from September this year,

What this means for childminders: The government is currently doing a consultation on childminder ratios. (See information here.) We don’t know what the outcomes of this will be, but we do know that any ratio changes will be optional for all childcare providers.

What’s next: We will work with the government on this consultation and will keep our community informed. The safety of the children you care for is always our first priority and we’ll be keeping a close eye on any changes, how they might affect you, and how we ensure we can continue to offer the highest level of care and education.

Expanded childcare allowance for parents using Universal Credit

The announcement: The government has increased the Universal Credit childcare cost maximum to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children. It will also now be possible for parents to have these costs paid upfront by the Government through their Universal Credit, rather than having to claim it back.

What this means for childminders: This should make it easier for Childminders to support parents who pay for childcare through Universal Credit.

What’s next: We will make sure the tiney app and wallet can support this change, so it’s easy for any parents who use Universal Credit to pay their tiney childminder. This could also support childminders with receiving fees more promptly for children whose families pay by Universal Credit.

New streamlined Early Years Foundation Stage Framework

The announcement: The Government is planning to hold a consultation on a new, childminder-specific Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum for childminders.

What this means for childminders: While it is not clear what these changes might involve, this could mean the government adapting EYFS for childminders.

What’s next: We will continue to actively participate in the consultation as we have to date, to make sure that any changes protect the integrity of EYFS and reflect the high quality of early years education that our community of childminders provide every single day.

Wrap-around care

The announcement: The Government has set out the ambition that all parents of primary-aged children in England should be able to access wrap-around care in schools for before and after school opening hours to ensure that children can be provided for between the hours of 8am - 6pm.

What this means for childminders: The Government will be providing start-up funding for schools and local authorities to test options that can increase the availability of wraparound care. It is still unclear what these options will be. This could be an opportunity for childminders to partner with their local schools and local authorities to provide wraparound care.

What’s next: We will work with Government, local authorities, and school partners to design schemes where childminders are part of the solution to help deliver the required wraparound care.

This has been a huge week for early years. I can’t ever remember a time when childcare was such a central part of the national conversation. That is a milestone moment to celebrate. All these reforms will ultimately help more families and young children across the nation access affordable, convenient, quality childcare. However, this cannot be achieved without strong supply side reforms. Next, we will work closely with decision makers to ensure these changes are sustainable for our nation’s amazing early years educators. We can’t have a strong future for childcare without childminders and we’ll be championing your role in this future at every opportunity.

Brett Wigdortz OBE profile img

Brett Wigdortz OBE

Chief Executive Officer

Founder and former CEO of Teach First and Co-Founder of Teach For All and the Fair Education Alliance. Brett’s lifelong mission is to help every child access an excellent education. He wants to support childcare professionals and parents to focus on this goal from a child’s earliest years.

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