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Childcare vouchers and wraparound care

(12 Posts)
Kwaziisgingerface Wed 22-May-13 11:31:27

Hope this is a good place to post this.

My DS starts reception in September. I currently use childcare vouchers to pay towards the cost of nursery and know that I can continue to use them towards wraparound care (breakfast club, after school club, holiday clubs). What I am not clear about is how to calculate how much I will need each month. How do others calculate this? Do you calculate the average cost per month and claim this in vouchers? Or do you vary the cost each month (not sure if this is even possible)?

My costs are likely to be:

£15 per week breakfast club (run by the school)
£45 per week after school club (run by external body)
£65-£80 per week for holiday clubs

Plus 6 weeks annual leave with no costs (well no childcare cost anyway!)

So I will not need the whole £243 per month. How do you all manage it? Thanks in advance

Tiggles Wed 22-May-13 11:54:34

Our breakfast club is free and afterschool club can't take vouchers, so I can only use vouchers for the holiday club.
Our holiday club is £45 a day,so I worked out how many weeks I would not be able to cover with mine and DHs holiday and would need holiday club for. Say that was 3 weeks, I would need £675. Payments should be made equally over the 12 months so I take a voucher of £57 a month.

To be fair my voucher provider has been fab and I have been able to change that payment amount very easily twice in the last year (due to change in DH's employment) they just wanted a months notice.

redskyatnight Wed 22-May-13 12:02:52

I actually took the maximum I could afford each month (worried govt will discontinue scheme). Every so often I reviewed what I had left and stopped taking any more if the surplus had built up too much.

However it looks from your figures as just going for the £243 a month, year round will probably work out about right (though as an aside, is the holiday club really that cheap for a week?)

Tiggles Wed 22-May-13 12:23:24

redskyatnight - our holiday club if booked in advance is £75 a week per child. Nearly had a heart attack when saw the prices of some in other areas!

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 22-May-13 12:51:28

You can save them up for future years as they can be used to pay for things like PGL holidays when they are older. Holiday activities do get more expensive as they get older as they require a bigger variety of activities and more specialist. Childcare for DD is costing £800 this summer two specialist netball camps, specialist dance camp, specialist survival camp and then some multi activity too. She is 9 and the idea of more than three weeks multi activity leads to melt down.

Kwaziisgingerface Wed 22-May-13 13:51:40

This is really useful: thanks so much for your input. We are in London, but the holiday club that I know of (and know parents who are very happy with them) are run by the same organisation who run the after school club. They are a not-for-profit church-based organisation who are all about supporting the local community and are fantastic. But I can see how more expensive sports-based activities will probably be wanted in the future.

I didn't know you could save them up over the years, so that is especially helpful to know. I think I will just take the maximum then and save anything that is left over. I also worry that the government will stop this. I had one month when the voucher provider accidently cancelled my account (someone with the same surname had wanted to cancel) and ended up paying loads more tax, still had to pay the full amount to the nursery of course, and had letters from the tax office as they thought my salary had massively increased. Which is why I really want to get it right from the outset.

noramum Wed 22-May-13 16:34:30

For 18 months we took the whole allowance and saved what was not needed. So we had extras for the holidays.

Now I have saved so much that we went down to what's just needed until the savings are gone.

My HR told me that I can increase the amount again if needed. But I know they wouldn't like it if I would do it on a monthly basis.

dixiechick1975 Wed 22-May-13 16:37:17

We use ours like a bank account - save a set amount each month then transfer online to the afterschool club when we are invoiced. I only use club sometimes so amount varies each month.

I use the bulk of the balance to pay for summer holiday childcare.

cogitosum Thu 23-May-13 11:08:44

They are stopping the scheme as it is from autumn 2015 so second redsky and lonecat about saving them up.

From 2015 it will only be for children up to 5 and there are other changes too so some people may lose out...

noramum Thu 23-May-13 12:30:58

Cogitosum: this is not how I understood it. If you are already a member of the scheme you can continue.

*Isn't there already a childcare voucher scheme in place?

Yes, but this only operates where employers opt in to the scheme. Currently about 5% choose to do so, helping about 500,000 households. Parents are able to pay directly for some childcare out of their gross annual wage, giving some relief from income tax and National Insurance costs. This amounts to around £1,800 a year for a family with two working parents. It covers children up to the age of 15.*

*Is this scheme disappearing?

Parents using the existing childcare voucher system will be able to continue using that scheme instead. But people will not be able to join after the new scheme begins. *

moonbells Fri 24-May-13 09:23:18

I was told by my voucher provider that if I want to cash a surplus in, I can do at any point and they never expire. (Subject to declaring it to HMRC so they can take the appropriate tax)

Not that there's much of a chance of that given the extortionate cost of holiday clubs round here!

Glittertwins Fri 24-May-13 11:54:50

We are only in our first year of variable wrap around charging and we both take the maximum amount in vouchers. I have a spreadsheet with the running balance of both accounts and the amount taken each month for childcare. So far we have had 3 weeks of holidays not requiring paid for cover and will have a further 4 weeks upto Dec this year. I don't know whether we will have parental cover next year so we are banking it up to cover for large school holiday bills.
If we continue to have a large surplus in the voucher accounts, I will reduce my amounts as I can take the full £243.

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