To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason parents must confirm every three months that they are eligible for 30 hours of free childcare; and if she will make a statement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to inform parents of the need to confirm every three months that they are eligible for 30 hours of free childcare.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to require parents to confirm their eligibility for free childcare once a year instead of every three months.
Every three months parents need to reconfirm their eligibility for 30 hours free childcare. This is to check they still meet the eligibility criteria and are therefore still entitled to receive the offer. Taxpayers’ money should not be used to give parents free childcare if they do not qualify for it.
Parents should receive a communication via text message and/or email, four weeks before their reconfirmation deadline and again two weeks before the deadline if they still have not reconfirmed. This communication will tell them that they have a secure message to read. This message will remind them to reconfirm and can be found in the ‘secure messages’ section of their childcare account. The Department for Education continues to disseminate key messages on 30 hours free childcare policy to parents through Local Authorities.
The Department for Education consulted extensively on the 30 hours free childcare policy. This included the provision that parents would have to reconfirm their eligibility for 30 hours free childcare every three months. The policy was debated by both Houses of Parliament during passage of the Childcare Bill in 2016. The policy was also subject to further scrutiny in both Houses when the Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) Regulations 2016 were debated. There are currently no plans to amend these regulations.