What is wraparound childcare

What is wraparound childcare? 

As the name implies, wraparound care encompasses childcare that extends beyond the traditional school day, commonly known as breakfast and after-school clubs. Conducted on-site, these sessions offer children additional social and learning opportunities. Typically, parents are charged a nominal fee per session for these extended care services.

Additionally, wraparound care extends to school holidays childcare programs held during school breaks. These holiday sessions are often themed, providing a dynamic and diverse schedule aimed at keeping children engaged and entertained. There are numerous childcare providers offering wraparound childcare services and extra-curricular activities. 

Distinguishing itself from occasional out-of-school activities or school clubs, wraparound care is a consistent offering, available on every school day beyond regular school hours. Usually utilised by working parents of children. Currently, approximately 60 percent of primary schools in England provide wraparound care, with private, voluntary, and independent providers, including childminders and early years settings, also offering these services. Often, such programs are conducted on school site or premises or within the local community. With both breakfast clubs and after school clubs providing a safe environment for young children outside of the conventional school day. 

Do children get snacks in wraparound childcare clubs?

In many wraparound childcare sessions, a key highlight is the provision of a nutritionally balanced, wholesome meal or snack. Breakfast clubs usually include a range of cereal options as well as toast with various spreads. After school options usually include fruits and healthy snacks such as crackers and cheese or sandwiches. The children are often involved in the preparation and serving of meals. This thoughtful touch not only ensures that children have a filling snack which helps sustain their energy levels until they head home, but also builds their social interaction skills too.

These kinds childcare options serve as a vital support system for busy working parents, whilst also presenting an opportunity for schools to generate additional income. Moreover, they create a dynamic and stimulating environment for children, fostering continued learning throughout the school week. The offering will vary between different locations. 

Why is wraparound childcare important

According to research conducted by NatCen, the benefits of wraparound care and influence on children’s outcomes is undeniably positive. Participation in organised sports and after-school clubs has been linked to enhanced academic performance and improved social skills among children.

Notably, disadvantaged children who engage in after-school clubs demonstrate better outcomes compared to their peers who do not participate in such organised activities. Further studies highlight the positive correlation between children involved in organised sports and physical activities during primary school and the development of superior social, emotional, and behavioral skills compared to their non-participating counterparts.

Not to mention that with wraparound care, parents can pursue their work commitments with greater ease, knowing that their children are in a safe and structured environment during the extended hours. This can contribute to reduced stress for working parents. Knowing that your children are in a secure and enriching environment, working parents may have the flexibility to engage in professional development opportunities, attend meetings, or work overtime when needed.

How to find wraparound childcare

For parents seeking childcare options for their primary school children, reaching out to the child’s school or consulting the Family Information Services in the local authority is recommended to discover the available wraparound care options. The wraparound program availability can be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing which local schools to apply to when completing that all important primary school application or registration form. Towards the end of primary school there is an expectation that the need for extra support is reduced and ultimately the need for wraparound childcare provision diminished when pupils start secondary school. It can be a daunting prospect when planning the first school year for four year olds due to start in reception. Reach out to family members and parents in the local area for their feedback on child care provisions near you. The best wraparound services and holiday clubs are often highly praised via word of mouth. 

Anticipated from September 2024, there will be a nationwide increase in the availability of wraparound childcare places. The goal is to ensure that, by September 2026, all parents who require it will have access to wraparound care, either through their school or another local provider. Wether or not the targets are reached is another issue – last year we had to register our wrap-around care needs as there are often limited slots available and these are bookable on a first come first served basis. 

What are the wraparound services in schools?

The provision of wraparound care by schools is dependent upon the demand within their community. While the preference is to offer this service within the school setting it can also be facilitated in nearby locations. Extending from 8 am to 6 pm, wraparound care from schools plays a pivotal role in assisting parents to balance work and family commitments. Simultaneously, it broadens children’s experiences and interests. It’s essential to note that not all schools are obligated to directly provide out-of-school care themselves.

Methods of Providing Wraparound Childcare:

Schools adopt various approaches to deliver wraparound care. Some choose to manage the care internally, while others opt for outsourcing to providers like Premier Education. These external providers deploy fully qualified staff members to conduct sessions that are not only educationally stimulating but also socially oriented, fostering physical activity among children. My son participates in organised sports and activities which have a positive impact in developing social skills beyond the classroom. 

Eligibility for Wraparound childcare:

Part of this announcement suggests that the overarching ambition is to make wraparound care accessible to all parents in England with primary school-aged children. There is always a fee for this kind of service, which is determined by the providers.  Low-income families, i.e parents eligible for Tax-Free Childcare or Universal Credit Childcare can use these benefits to assist in covering the costs of wraparound care. There are various claims calculator and UK government websites which can give specific advice relating to personal circumstances. 

Support for Local Authorities:

To facilitate the expansion of wraparound care, local authorities will receive a total of £289 million. This funding is intended to help map out and address the specific needs of parents in their regions. Local authorities can also use these funds to experiment with various approaches to enhance wraparound care options, such as collaborating with private providers or partnering with schools.

An additional £100 million will be allocated to local authorities to ensure that childcare settings in the area, including both early years and wraparound settings, have sufficient physical space to implement the program effectively from the following year.

Improving Childcare Access for Working Parents of Under 5s:

As part of a broader initiative to enhance childcare accessibility, the government is doubling its investment in childcare, increasing the annual budget from approximately £4 billion to around £8 billion. By September 2025, working parents will be eligible to claim 30 hours of childcare per week, spanning 38 weeks each year, from nine months until their child starts school.

To alleviate financial pressures on nurseries, a £204 million cash injection is set to support areas such as staffing costs, training, and operational expenses.

For more details on the government’s investment in childcare in England, you can explore the Education Hub.

Last Updated on 6 months by Lavania Oluban

What is wraparound childcare?
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What is wraparound childcare?
Wraparound care, extending beyond school hours, provides working parents with flexibility and peace of mind. Research shows positive impacts on children's outcomes, making it a valuable childcare solution.
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The Amazing adventures of Me
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