To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 1 November 2016 to Question 50573, what plans she has to update statutory guidance to ensure that childcare providers are not using compulsory charges for parents as a condition of their children accessing a free childcare place with that provider.
In March 2017 the department published revised statutory guidance which came into force on 1 September 2017. In the guidance we re-stated the government’s position on providers charging for additional services or consumables. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring that all eligible children can take up their place free of charge and that providers’ charging policies enable this. The guidance states that all parents should have the same rights to access a free entitlement place, regardless of whether they choose to pay for additional hours of provision, additional activities or meals.
In July 2017, we published additional operational guidance that provided further clarification on the charges providers can make.