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Cardiff Council

www.cardiff.gov.uk

Government-funded childcare

​​​​​​​​The Childcare Offer for 3 and 4 year olds

Childcare logo​ 

The Childcare Offer Team are working remotely at this time. Unfortunately, this means access to the main telephone line is extremely limited.

Please contact the team at cardiffchildcareoffer@cardiff.gov.uk​​​​​​​​​​​​External link opens in a new window or via our Facebook page.

Please ensure you read all the information included below before you apply. ​


The Childcare Offer will provide all eligible working parents living in Cardiff with a combined 30 hours of government-funded childcare and Foundation Phase Nursery Provision for 3 and 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks per year.


The 48 weeks is made-up of 39 weeks of combined education and childcare during school term-time and 9 weeks of ‘holiday’ provision outside of school terms.


39 weeks of the year combined ed​ucation and childcare during term-time
Cardiff Foundation Phase Nursery Provision (Early Education): 12.5 hours
Cardiff Childcare Offer 17.5 hours


Parents are not required to access their early education entitlement in order to access the childcare element of the Offer. However, their entitlement will include these hours whether they access them or not. Find out how to apply for an Early Education Foundation Phase Nursery place.


9 weeks of ‘holiday’ provision outside of scho​ol term

Cardiff Childcare Offer = 30 hours per week


Holiday provision will be allocated at the beginning of each term the child is eligible for the Offer.  

Children will be allocated 3 weeks of holiday provision per term up to 9 weeks holiday provision in every 12 months pro-rated for their term of entitlement.

9 weeks pro-rata holiday entitlement applies as follows:

  • If a parent was eligible for 1 term - 3 weeks holiday provision;
  • If a parent was eligible for 2 terms - 6 weeks holiday provision;
  • If a parent was eligible for 3 terms - 9 weeks holiday provision.

Children born in autumn or spring terms may be eligible to receive the Offer for more than one year. If your entitlement goes into a second academic year it is treated as one period of overall entitlement so:

  • 4 terms – 12 weeks
  • 5 terms – 15 weeks

Unused weeks from each term can be rolled into the next term including into a new academic year.

Holiday weeks cannot be used before they have been accrued.

Eligible Children


Eligible children will be able to access the Offer from the beginning of the term after the term in which they turn 3 up until the September following their fourth birthday, when they begin their full time education place.

Date of Birth​​ Term Child Turns 3

First Term for Childcare​

Earliest Childcare Offer Fun​ding Start DateApplications Open

1 September 2016 - 31 December 2017


Date application is approved
Open

1 January 2018 - 31 March 2018

Spring

Summer 2021

12 April 2021
15 February 2021

1 April 2018 - 31 August 2018

​Summer

Autumn 2021

​2 September 2021 8 July 2021

1 September 2018 - 31 December 2018

​Autumn

Spring 2022

​4th January 2022
9 November 2021


Please note, the Offer will start from the first day of the school term set by the Local Authority.

If your application has not been received and processed by the beginning of the school term in which your child is eligible, your funding will not be back-dated.

Please do not apply for the offer more than 8 weeks before the beginning of the term following your child’s third birthday.  Any applications received before the 8 weeks will be rejected and a new application will have to be submitted.


What if my child is offered a full time education place before the September after they turn 4?

In cases where children are offered a full time education place before the September after they turn 4 they will no longer be eligible to receive the Childcare Offer during term-time. However, these children will remain eligible for their holiday provision up until the September after their 4th birthday. 


Eligible Parents

We are pleased to announce that the Childcare Offer for Wales will now be accessible to all eligible parents throughout the whole of Cardiff.

Parents are eligible for the government-funded childcare if:

  • ​All adults with parental responsibility in the household are working and earn a weekly minimum equivalent of 16 hours at the national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW) but less than £100,000 (per parent) per tax year.
    This applies to both parents/co-habiting couples in a two parent family, or the sole parent in a lone parent family.
  •  Self-employed parents and parents on zero hours contracts are eligible if they can meet the minimum earnings criteria over a 3 month period.  Where one or both parents are newly self-employed and have not yet met the minimum hour’s eligibility criteria, an initial start-up period will be allowed of up to 12 months before the parent needs to evidence that they are earning the equivalent of 16 hours at NMW per week. Parents will need to provide a document from HMRC showing their UTR number and the date they became self-employed in order to qualify.


All Parents, guardians, step-parents and live-in partners will need to meet the eligibility criteria in order for a child living within that household to be able to take up the offer.

If you are unsure whether you meet the eligibility criteria please contact the Childcare Offer team on cardiffchildcareoffer@cardiff.gov.uk​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​External link opens in a new window


Exceptions to eligibility

Parents will still be eligible for the Childcare Offer if one of the circumstances below applies;

  • ​One parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring;
  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave;
  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay;
  • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of the following benefits;
    • ​Incapacity benefit;
    • Severe disablement allowance;
    • Long term incapacity benefit;
    • Employment and support allowance; or
    • National insurance credits on the grounds of incapacity for work or limited capability for work.

 Families where both parents are in receipt of the above benefits (or has an underlying entitlement to the above benefits), or the sole parent in a single parent family, will not be able to access the Childcare Offer.

    Where parents have separated but do not share equal custody of the child, the parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the Offer (if they meet the eligibility criteria).

    Where parents share equal custody one parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the Offer.


    Please Note: Eligibility cannot be confirmed until a fully completed application form has been received and processed by the Childcare Offer team and you have received a confirmation email.​

    Parents can choose any childcare provider that are signed up to the Childcare Offer and are registered with the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).


    Before completing the application form, parents are encouraged to ensure that their chosen childcare provider has ‘Childcare Offer’ spaces available. You will be asked to confirm which provider you are going to use when you apply.


    To find out if your chosen provider is currently signed up to provide the Childcare Offer please contact the Childcare Offer team on 02920 351713 or check Dewis Cymru​. ​​​​​​​​​​​​Link opens in a new window

    Please Note: Making an application does not guarantee a childcare place

    Will I have to pay for anything?

    The Childcare Offer funds a maximum of 30 hours of early education and childcare per week. The funding from the government is for the childcare the professionals within the setting provide. It does not include food, transport or off-site activities that incur an extra charge and providers will be able to charge you for these.

    Please be aware that the Childcare Offer funds a maximum of 48 out of 52 weeks and therefore parents will be liable for any childcare used during the non-funded weeks. These will always be non-term time holiday weeks.​ 


    Can I use more than one childcare provider?

    Yes, you can use up to TWO registered childcare settings per day in addition to their Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) setting in any given day.

    During the holiday period a child may therefore access a maximum of two registered settings under the offer.


    Can I accrue my hours?

    No.  Parents will be provided with a total of 30 hours a week of combined FPN provision and childcare with parents choosing how much of the 30 hours to use. Any hours not used in a week will be lost.

    Any unused holidayweeks can be carried over and used in the next term, provided they are still eligible to receive the Offer.


    What if my child has additional needs?

    The Childcare Offer is available to all eligible parents. Please ensure you tick yes on your application form when asked “My child has a disability or has a Special Educational Need” and we will process your application accordingly to ensure any additional support is implemented.


    What if my employment circumstances change?

    Families may at times fall out of eligibility for the Offer if for example one or both parents lose their job or their hours are reduced below the minimum requirement. In order to provide stability for both children and childcare providers, and to give parents the opportunity to become eligible again, those families who fall out of eligibility will still be able to access the offer for a limited amount of time (8 weeks temporary exemption period).

    It is the parent’s responsibility to inform both the Local Authority and the provider if their circumstances change.


    Are parents required to access Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) provision to be entitled to the childcare?

    No, accessing FPN provision is not a prerequisite to accessing the childcare element of the Childcare Offer. 

    Where a parent is unable to or does not wish to access FPN they will only be able to access the childcare element of the Childcare Offer (17.5 hours during term time and 30 hours for holiday weeks).

    FPN hours cannot be traded for additional hours of childcare under the Childcare Offer.

    To discuss Nursery Admissions please contact the team on 02920 872909.​

    We advise using a desktop PC or laptop to complete your application.

    You will have 8 weeks to submit all required evidence to support your application.After this time, incomplete applications will be closed and a new application will need to be submitted should you wish to pursue the Childcare Offer further.

    The application form is only available online and cannot be saved, so please ensure you have the following information before you start:

    Proof of parental responsibility

    • Child’s long hand birth certificate which states one or both parents names OR
    • Child’s short hand birth certificate plus further evidence of your parental responsibility. (Examples: Child benefit letter, tax credits letter, red book, foundation phase nursery admissions letter and medical letters.) Any further evidence of parental responsibility must state both the parent and child’s names.
     

    We do accept scanned copies, screenshots or photographs.



    Proof of residency for all adults with parental responsibility living at the property


    We can only accept one of the following documents as proof of residency:
    • Your most recent 2021-2022 council tax bill
    • Utility bill (water, gas or electricity) dated in the last 3 months
    • Bank statement dated in the last 3 months
     

    We do accept scanned copies, screenshots or photographs.


    Agreed childcare providers hours and days

    You will need to include agreed childcare providers hours and days.



    You will also need the following employment and income details:

    Employers contact details

    You will need to provide your employers contact details including address, telephone number and email.

    Income evidence for all adults with parental responsibility living at the property



    • Parents’ most recent payslips for the last three months and/or latest self-assessment tax return (SA302), including unique tax reference (UTR) number
    • If self-employed for less than 12 months, HMRC letter showing UTR number and date of registration
    • Department for Work and Pensions letter or current employer’s letter that would qualify parents for the Childcare Offer if not currently in work
     

    We do accept scanned copies, screenshots or photographs.





    Parents will be required to re-confirm they remain eligible for the Childcare Offer on a termly basis. For the majority of families this will only require responding to an email, but a randomly selected proportion of families will be required to re-submit evidence of income. 

    Please note that failing to respond to the email or re-submit evidence will result in you being viewed as no longer eligible and the funding for your childcare will be stopped.

    Apply Now

    Please allow 28 days for the application to be processed. This may be extended should further evidence be requested.​


    Do not apply for the offer more than 8 weeks before the beginning of the term following your child’s third birthday.  Please refer to the table in the “Who is Eligible for the Childcare Offer?” section to check the date you can apply. Any applications received before the 8 weeks will be rejected and a new application will have to be submitted.


    If your application has not been received and processed by the beginning of the school term in which your child is eligible, your funding will not be back-dated.


    Please Note: This application is for the Childcare Offer Childcare Hours Only. 


    To apply for the Foundation Phase Provision please see the Nursery Admissions page.​



    If you have any questions not answered above or would like to discuss your application further please contact us.

    Call: 029 2035 1713


    E-mail: cardiffchildcareoffer@cardiff.gov.uk


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