Information shared by daynurseries.co.uk.
According to the Department of Education’s (DfE) attendance figures for early years settings from 16 April to 22 October, more parents are returning to formal childcare, with attendance at early years settings now at 87 per cent of pre-coronavirus daily levels.
The DfE has stated: ‘We estimate 770,000 children are currently attending early years childcare settings’ which is approximately 87 per cent of the usual daily level.
‘On a typical day in the autumn term we expect attendance to be 887,000, due to different and part-time patterns of childcare during the week’.
The rise in early years attendance figures comes as the Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford announced that working parents on the government’s coronavirus support schemes can still be eligible for 30 hours funded childcare even if they work fewer hours.
From Sunday 1 November, all eligible working parents who receive support through the government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) and extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) can continue to receive childcare entitlements.
This includes the 30 hours ‘funded’ childcare offer and Tax-Free Childcare, even if their income levels fall below the threshold. The minimum income threshold for the 30 hours offer and Tax-Free Childcare is usually equal to 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage.
Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said: “I am so pleased to see attendance rates rising, as more parents return to work and take up the formal childcare arrangements they used before COVID-19 struck.
“It’s testament to the hard work of early years professionals that these numbers are returning to what we would have seen before the pandemic.
“This Government is increasing the safety net available to families, protecting working parents and our dedicated early years sector. This has been our constant priority.
“We know challenges remain for many families, which is why we continue to protect parents’ eligibility for our free childcare offers so they retain this vital support.”
The DfE has said it provides 30 hours funded childcare to eligible three and four-year-olds in England and has seen 180,000 applications and around 430,000 reconfirmations for 30 hours places since March 2020.
Karl Khan, director general, HMRC customer service said: “HMRC remains ready to help all customers as part of the government’s response to the pandemic, including those who benefit from Tax-Free Childcare.
“We want everyone to get the money they are entitled to, and there’s a range of support available to help families with childcare costs. We’d encourage parents to check the Childcare Choices website to see which offers will work best for them.”