My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

This topic is for Q & As run by Mumsnet. If you'd like to sponsor a Q & A, please email [email protected].

Sponsored Q&As

Do you have questions about the government’s new childcare offers? Ask the Minister for Children and Families, David Johnston MP.

24 replies

RhiannonEMumsnet · 07/02/2024 13:44

There are millions of conversations on Mumsnet every year about childcare - from cost to availability, to the importance of early years education in children’s lives. The government is currently embarking on the biggest expansion to childcare in England ever, meaning more working families will benefit from support with childcare costs to help them juggle work and family life. You can find more info about that here.

Later this month David Johnston MP, the Minister for Children and Families, will be answering your questions about all things childcare - from the new childcare hours, to the importance of childcare for working parents, to how government policy on childcare is made. Please share your questions below. 

Please stick to the usual guidelines - one question per user, keep it civil, and if one topic is dominating, please don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point - we'll be deleting questions that are repeated multiple times.

David Johnston was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education on 31 August 2023.

He was previously Chief Executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, a charity which runs a range of programmes that incorporate mentoring, internships, university application support and skills development to help young people from low-income backgrounds enter universities and professions.

In addition to being a governor at Pimlico Academy, a London secondary school, David is a governor of a sixth form college in London and is on the board of an organisation for 11 to 16 year olds in Oxfordshire.

Do you have questions about the government’s new childcare offers?  Ask the Minister for Children and Families, David Johnston MP.
OP posts:
TheMadnessOfOfsted · 10/02/2024 15:12

How will the Government encourage existing providers to remain in the sector? Will they address the bullying by Ofsted that causes so many to leave?

Blanketbaby7 · 10/02/2024 15:17

Some providers are telling me, "we offer the 15 hours free childcare, but we won't do the 30 hours (despite us qualifying), this will have to be the usual rates." Why is this? It makes it difficult for me to return to work with only 15 funded hours. Can they be made to offer 30 hours if they have space? One particular provider definitely has space (nursery within private school).

jellybeanpopper · 11/02/2024 03:58

what funding will the providers receive to make this viable? We’ve already had so many nurseries close locally, 18 month waits to get a space now and I can’t see that any of them will be able to afford this…

Superduper02 · 11/02/2024 08:13

When will childcare providers be given the rates that the government intend to pay them per hour for the new 15/30 hours? Our provider has said they are still waiting to receive this information so cannot tell us how much we will pay in top up fees. Parents need to plan.

SquashPenguin · 11/02/2024 08:17

Is there any talk about Wales extending the offer to children from nine months old? Or will it stay as just England that benefits?

DahliaRose3 · 11/02/2024 08:34

Respectfully, why do we pay the most for nursery childcare (in the world)? Why are nurseries not being adequately funded as a whole, and compensated fully for “free hours”.

Women are having to choose between their careers and raising families, which tells me the government doesnt value us. The stress of this financial burden is immense.

Joleyne · 11/02/2024 13:34

Why is Ofsted suspending childcarers for months on end, often for spurious reasons?

Shinyandnew1 · 11/02/2024 13:37

What is the amount per hour that childcare providers will be receiving for these new hours? I can’t see how anyone can plan anything until that information is stated.

MidnightPatrol · 11/02/2024 14:49

I would be v interested to hear your justification for the astronomical effective tax rate at £100k for parents with preschoolers.

Between £100-125k for a parent with two children:

  • Less 60% tax + NI is -£15k
  • Less £2k tax free childcare x 2 is -£4k
  • Less 15 free hours x 2 (at £80 a week for 51 weeks) is -£8,160


This is a total of £27,160 in deductions. A >100% tax rate - while you might be spending 80% of your take home pay on childcare.

What is the justification behind penalising this group so spectacularly?
Lighter22 · 11/02/2024 22:38

Due to my partner earning over £100k, we are not entitled to any childcare support until our children (one year old twins) turn three.
A full week at nursery for twins is over £3k per month. This is more than I would be making if I went back to work and therefore it doesn’t really make sense for me to return to work for the time being.
The free hours/tax free childcare would have meant I might have been able to return - but unfortunately as I’m not eligible, I just can’t justify it. Are there any plans to look at household income rather than individual income for the support packages?

Blanketbaby7 · 12/02/2024 02:27

With 15 hours term-time, some nurseries are saying they're open all year round, so 15 hours is 11 hours a week. They're now saying half-days aren't allowed and doing 7.30am-6.30pm as the full day. No-one puts their 1 year old in nursery that long- they need 12 hours night-time sleep. So one day a week, is the full funded hours. But they won't accept less than 3 full days a week. They've hiked the prices of the other 2 days so nursery is still the same amount it was before the "15 free hours" and more expensive if doing more than 3 days a week. What is the Government doing to stop this?

PinkPink1 · 12/02/2024 12:28

When will I be able to apply for funding for a child under 2 years old? Is this only term time?

Ukrainebaby23 · 15/02/2024 11:35

They keep talking about eligible working families. Although we both work outside the home, one of us has ongoing illness but is not entitled to sick pay or any benefits such as UC. Will we still be considered 'eligible'?
Currently we would not be entitled to tax free childcare as one doesn't earn £170 per week.

DrewHormordr · 18/02/2024 15:18

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ShellT65 · 20/02/2024 15:40

When will childcare also include older children after school hours finish? A family member who is single parent has a 2 year old and a 6 year old and an 8 year old, the school the older two attend does not have pre school or after school clubs. Whilst she is entitled to free 15hrs nursery school for the 2 year old from April, there is nothing available for the primary or junior school aged children and this would greatly impact finding suitable working hours to allow her to drop all 3 children off but then also work beyond 3.15 daily.

TheMadnessOfOfsted · 20/02/2024 17:10

ShellT65 · 20/02/2024 15:40

When will childcare also include older children after school hours finish? A family member who is single parent has a 2 year old and a 6 year old and an 8 year old, the school the older two attend does not have pre school or after school clubs. Whilst she is entitled to free 15hrs nursery school for the 2 year old from April, there is nothing available for the primary or junior school aged children and this would greatly impact finding suitable working hours to allow her to drop all 3 children off but then also work beyond 3.15 daily.

Has she tried a childminder? I realise they're a rare breed these days.

ShellT65 · 21/02/2024 07:38

Very limited availabilty of childminders locally and some don't do school collection because of having other children at there home.

LondonPapa · 22/02/2024 12:23

Why is it that there is an income cap forcing families to make changes to their working lives to afford the excessive nursery costs in London?

Initially it was touted as a benefit for all working parents, now it is a benefit for all parents earning below £100,000. It is not sustainable to pay £2,000 for a nursery, the mortgage, ground rent, council tax, service charge, other essential expenses. Especially when families are facing the impact of the cladding issues in increased mortgage costs, service charges and fees.

This is yet another policy aimed at being a vote winner but, frankly, falls incredibly short and is insulting considering the messaging up to this point.

Ecnerual · 22/02/2024 14:01

Why are NHS students (nurses, midwives and other allied professionals in training) not included in the government childcare schemes?

A recent article in the Independent covering this subject finished with the following misleading statement:

"A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “Students who are parents already receive a grant paying 85 per cent of childcare costs across the full year including holidays, up to a weekly limit, and student nurses with children receive an additional NHS grant of £7,000 per academic year."

This suggests all NHS students receive this support which is not true. The 85 per cent grant is means tested.

Maximum annual household income to receive full 85% support:
£9.7k for one child
£11k for two or more children to

Maximum annual household income to receive any childcare support:
£19k for one child
£27.5k for two or more children.

Many families have a household income of more than the maximum amounts and therefore receive no support.

NHS students with children receive an additional (parental element) £2000 per year through the NHS learning support fund, not £7000. The first £5000 is awarded to all healthcare students with or without children.

The average full time nursery place in the UK is almost £15,000 a year, so the £2000 parental element covers 13% of this.

Student nurses and midwives are required to work 2300 unpaid hours in clinical placement to enter the professional register, which equates to about 30 hours per week for 6 months of the year for three years. (Another mandatory 2300 of theory hours is required to qualify, making it difficult to have paid work alongside studying and looking after a family). Yet these unpaid hours do not count as work.

MidnightPatrol · 22/02/2024 15:43

LondonPapa · 22/02/2024 12:23

Why is it that there is an income cap forcing families to make changes to their working lives to afford the excessive nursery costs in London?

Initially it was touted as a benefit for all working parents, now it is a benefit for all parents earning below £100,000. It is not sustainable to pay £2,000 for a nursery, the mortgage, ground rent, council tax, service charge, other essential expenses. Especially when families are facing the impact of the cladding issues in increased mortgage costs, service charges and fees.

This is yet another policy aimed at being a vote winner but, frankly, falls incredibly short and is insulting considering the messaging up to this point.

Quite.

The take home pay on £100k after auto-enrolment and a student loan his £4,855 per month.

Two children in a London day nursery might cost £2,000 each. Over 80% of your salary.

Made even more extreme by the loss of personal allowance at the same point.

AnotherCF · 22/02/2024 19:41

Nursery fees locally have increased 11 percent year on year. But the amount you can deposit into your tax free childcare account and get government support on has not increased meaning more and more of what you pay in childcare costs is without tax relief. Why has this not kept up with either inflation or the rising cost of childcare?

Dancerprancer19 · 23/02/2024 14:27

SEN Childcare!

What provision is being made for children with special needs? I cannot afford not to work but there is zero available before and after school care for my child who attends a special needs school. My husband and I work full time and I rely on the absolute generosity of my employer and stretching flexible working to its limits. We do use babysitters but can't get any support with paying them. Grandparents come during holidays but can't come for the whole time. The system expects parents of disabled children to be able to work (you just can't live on carers allowance and my husband earns too much for UC but not enough to support a whole family in SE).

Please stop forgetting about families like ours!

Takemeawayy · 23/02/2024 21:20

My nursery is offering the new childcare funding but has increased fees for all children paying the full rate to compensate. My child is only 1 so I am not eligible yet but by the time he gets 15 hours I think I will still be paying the same amount as I currently am pre the new funding being introduced! What is the government going to do to properly fund childcare providers and actually stop this scheme being a joke?

IceandIndigo · 25/02/2024 14:18

Why is the “free hours” funding for preschoolers linked to school term time, when most families require childcare all year round?

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.