Childcare Offer for Wales: FAQs for providers

Frequently Asked Questions for providers about the Childcare Offer for Wales.

Download the full documents and bilingual versions for both providers and parents below too, updated in June 2018.

Find out more about the Childcare Offer for Wales here

Parent with child at nurseryWhat is the Childcare Offer for Wales?

The new childcare offer will provide working parents with 30 hours of early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks per year. The offer will build on children’s existing early education entitlement (or sometimes known as Foundation Phase Nursery) during term time, and provide 30 hours of childcare for 9 weeks of the holidays.

What does it mean for me as a provider?

Providing you are registered with CIW (formerly CSSIW) or the equivalent in England, you could receive funding from a pilot local authority for eligible 3 and 4 year olds accessing the offer in your setting.

Where are the pilot areas?

They are in specific local authority areas. A full list is available on the Welsh Government website or on local authority websites.

Do I need to be based in a pilot area to be involved in the early implementation of the Childcare Offer for Wales?

 No. Parents need to be eligible and live in a pilot area to access the offer. However the childcare element of the offer can be delivered by any registered childcare setting, regardless of location. Delivery arrangements for the early education element of the offer are decided by local authorities.

Do I need to deliver the Foundation Phase to deliver the childcare element of the offer?

No. Some children will continue to access early education in maintained settings, or funded non-maintained settings who are not delivering the offer. Childcare providers do not need to deliver both the early education and childcare elements of the offer. 

Find out more information about the Foundation Phase here or search for Foundation Phase Nursery on the Welsh Government website.

Do I need to be able to deliver the offer for 48 weeks per year to take part?

No. Parents can access the offer through different providers that best suit their circumstance. Providers who only offer term-time provision or provision only in school holidays can still deliver the offer.

Do I need to be open for 30 hours each week to take part?

No. Parents are able to use more than one provider to access their hours.

How much will I get paid?

All providers will receive a rate of £4.50 per hour for children receiving the childcare element of the offer. Payment rates for the early education element of the offer are decided by local authorities.

How do I sign up to take part in the Childcare Offer for Wales and where can I find out more information on the Offer?

You should contact your Family Information Services who will be able to provide you with full details of the Offer and how to sign up as a provider.

What if a child has additional needs that I cannot cater for?

You should contact Family Information Services who may be able to provide advice and details of any additional support available.

Can I charge parents a top-up rate?

No. You cannot charge hourly top-up rates if you’d normally charge more than £4.50 per hour.

What happens if I usually charge for sessions not hours?

If you normally charge parents for a full or half day’s childcare the childcare offer will fund the number of hours included in a session. For example if you usually charge full-day rate for children attending from 8-6, the offer will fund you £4.50 for 10 hours and the parent will have used 10 hours of their weekly entitlement. It does not matter if a parent drops off their child late or picks them up early.

Can I charge for food and additional activities?

Yes. If necessary, you can charge parents for additional elements such as food, transport and off-site activities which incur a cost. The Welsh Government guidelines in respect of setting additional fees under the offer for a full day care session (approximately 10 hours) are that parents should not be charged more than £7.50 per day (this would include three meals at £2 per meal and 2 snacks at a charge of 75p per snack).

For a half day session (approximately 5.5 hours) parents should not be charged more than £4.75 (two meals at £2 per meal plus a snack at a charge of 75p per snack). For sessional care where a meal is not provided but children receive a snack, guidelines are that parents should not be charged more than 75p per day for snack provision. Providers should not charge parents who access the offer more for any additional elements than they charge parents who are not accessing the offer and will be considered to be in breach of contract if they do so.

How will I get paid?

You should claim funding for the hours a child has registered with you under the offer from your local authority.

What if a child doesn’t show up?

If a child cannot attend a booked session for reasons such as illness you will still paid for the hours booked. However, if parents repeatedly book hours that the child does not attend you will need to inform your local authority.