Free ‘Wraparound’ Childcare for the Armed Forces
The Naval Families Federation has been at the forefront of raising awareness of the childcare challenges for serving families since it carried out its first childcare survey in 2016, and its follow-up survey earlier this year (which will be published shortly). We are very grateful to everyone who responded so generously with their time and thoughts. You have allowed us to represent your experiences with authority and in detail to the Government, the Royal Navy and other stakeholders.
We are delighted that the announcement has been made of a new offer of free ‘wraparound’ childcare, to be piloted from September.
RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire will be the first bases to offer the scheme, with service personnel based in Catterick and Plymouth able to access the pilot scheme from January 2021. We will update you with further details of the Plymouth pilot as soon as these become available.
While we very warmly welcome this news, we are aware that wraparound care is only one aspect of this complex issue. We will continue to work hard to represent your experiences and challenges in all areas of childcare.
Royal Navy Wraparound Childcare (WAC) pilot for eligible Service Personnel assigned to the Plymouth area
The Wraparound Childcare (WAC) pilot provides funding to eligible parent(s) with children between the ages of 4 to 11 years old with up to 20 hours per week of free before and after school childcare during term time.
Parent(s) can choose their own OFSTED, (or equivalent), registered childcare provider. The first pilot started in the autumn term 2020 and included Service personnel assigned to RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton. In January 2021, the pilot will be extended to include Service personnel assigned to the Plymouth area.
The second pilot is for Service Personnel (Tri-Service, Regular and Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)) who are assigned to the Plymouth area, and have child /children aged 4 to 11 years old who are in school and/or being home schooled at the start of the spring term. Those whose Assignment Orders have a report for duty date between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021 may also apply.
At the start of the pilot, the Service person and their partner, or a sole parent in a lone parent family, must be:
- In paid employment, or re-starting work within the next 31 days.
- Working at least 16 hours each per week.
- Earning a weekly income equivalent to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage.
- Financially responsible for a child who usually lives with them, unless separated due to Service commitments or are on unaccompanied assignments.
- Each earning less than £100K per year.
You can only claim for WAC if you are using registered, regulated and inspected providers who are eligible to use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) or Childcare Vouchers.
Further guidance will be published shortly.