Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Spring Flowers

Spring is here and some of the children have been looking at the lovely flowers. They have been taking a few pictures. They will be using these picture to paint some flowers for our spring display.



Thursday, 16 March 2017

What is Tax Free Childcare?

Tax-Free Childcare will be available to around 2 million households to help with the cost of childcare, enabling more parents to go out to work, if they want to, to provide greater security for their families.

Keep updated about when you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare.

Ten things to know about the scheme:

1. You’ll be able to open an online account

You’ll be able to open an online account, which you can pay into to cover the cost of childcare with a registered provider. This will be done through the government website, GOV.UK.

Tax-Free Childcare will be launched from early 2017. The scheme will be rolled out gradually to families, with parents of the youngest children able to apply first.

You’ll be able to apply for all your children at the same time, when your youngest child becomes eligible. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.

2. For every 80p you or someone else pays in, the government will top up an extra 20p

This is equivalent of the tax most people pay - 20% - which gives the scheme its name, ‘tax-free’. The government will top up the account with 20% of childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 - the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).

3. The scheme will be available for children up to the age of 12

It will also be available for children with disabilities up to the age of 17, as their childcare costs can stay high throughout their teenage years.

4. To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each earning at least £115 a week and not more than £100,000 each per year

The scheme is designed to be flexible for parents if, for example, they want to get back to work after the birth of a child or work part-time.

5. Any eligible working family can use the Tax-Free Childcare scheme - it doesn’t rely on employers offering it

Tax-Free Childcare doesn’t rely on employers offering the scheme, unlike the current scheme Employer-Supported Childcare. Any working family can use Tax-Free Childcare, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

6. The scheme will be available for parents who are self-employed

Self-employed parents will be able to get support with childcare costs in Tax-Free Childcare, unlike the current scheme (Employer-Supported Childcare) which is not available to self-employed parents. To support newly self-employed parents, the government is introducing a ‘start-up’ period. During this, self-employed parents won’t have to earn the minimum income level.

The scheme will be available to parents on paid sick leave and paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

7. If you currently receive Employer-Supported Childcare then you can continue to do so

You do not have to switch to Tax-Free Childcare if you do not wish to. Employer-Supported Childcare will continue to run. The current scheme will remain open to new entrants until April 2018. Parents already registered by this date will be able to continue using it for as long as their employer offers it.

However, Tax-Free Childcare will be open to more than twice as many parents as Employer-Supported Childcare.

Employers’ workplace nurseries won’t be affected by the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare.

8. Parents and others can pay money into their childcare account as and when they like

This gives you the flexibility to pay in more in some months, and less at other times. This means you can build up a balance in your account to use at times when you need more childcare than usual, for example, over the summer holidays.

It’s also not just the parents who can pay into the account - if grandparents, other family members or employers want to pay in, then they can.

9. The process will be as simple as possible for parents

The process will be as easy as possible for you. For example, you’ll re-confirm your circumstances every 3 months using a simple online process; and there will be a simple log-in service where parents can view accounts for all of their children at once.

10. You’ll be able to withdraw money from the account if you want to

If your circumstances change or you no longer want to pay into the account, then you’ll be able to withdraw the money you have built up. If you do, the government will withdraw its corresponding contribution.

You can check to see if you are eligible at the HMRC website as well as the new 30 hours childcare scheme...

Reduce the costs of your childcare

From September some parents will be able to access the additional 15 hours per week

To enable you to make decisions as to whether or not this will apply to you here is a list of the criteria that you need to meet...

Parents of three and four year olds will need to meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare
  • They earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months.
  • This equates to £120 a week (or c.£6,000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old or £112.80 a week (or c.£5,800 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old.
  • This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hours contract.
  • The parent (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work.
  • Where one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave.
  • Where one parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work.
  • Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months. 
  • If a non-EEA national, the parent must have recourse to public funds.
In addition to the new 30 hours scheme there is also the new Tax Free Childcare...

Tax-Free Childcare will be available to around 2 million households to help with the cost of childcare, enabling more parents to go out to work, if they want to, to provide greater security for their families.

We have more information about this on another blog entry ...

The HMRC has a website dedicated to childcare entitlement which takes just 10 complete and will tell parents what they current are entitled to as well as what they will be entitled to when the 30 hours start in September. The same site also lets parents know if they can get 'Tax Free Childcare.'

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Visual Time Tables

At Baby Ducks we often use visual time tables with the children. We thought it might be useful to explain a little bit about what they are used for.

A visual timetable or timeline uses pictures to break down steps of a task or a routine throughout the day.

It is like us using a diary, following a recipe or making a list using pictures instead of words.

How will this help my child?

Visual timelines can help children in lots of different ways:

Children with difficulty understanding language may benefit from visual timelines because of the extra time they allow them to think. When we talk our words disappear quickly and children have to remember and work out what we have said. As pictures don't disappear, your child can look at them and take in the information at their own pace.

Visual timelines can also help support any child who is anxious, perhaps because they are going somewhere or doing something new, or don’t understand routines. They are reassuring for children who need to know what is going to happen next in a task or routine so that they can anticipate this.

Many children learn better when they have pictures to help them. Lots of children are visual learners which means they learn by seeing things rather than listening. Therefore, visual timelines build on your child’s strengths to support other areas of learning that they are finding more difficult.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Thank You!

We would just like to thank everyone that come to last weeks Baby Ducks Quiz night. Hopefully you all enjoyed yourselves as much as we did. Congratulations to our winning team 'The Mighty Ducks' who managed to claim a victory by just one point!

We managed to raise over £200 which we will be using later this year to do some more work on our outside area.