National wraparound childcare programme 2023-2026

Ealing primary school provision of ‘wraparound’ childcare survey December 2023 (news item)
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What is the ambition of the national wraparound childcare programme?

The national wraparound childcare programme is part of the childcare reforms announced at the 2023 Spring Budget.

The government’s ambition is that by 2026, all parents and carers of primary school-aged children who need it will be able to access term time childcare in their local area from 8am-6pm, so that parents can access employment and improve labour market participation.

In the context of this programme, what is meant by wraparound childcare ?

  • The term ‘wraparound childcare’ refers to provision directly before and after the school day during school term time for primary school age children from reception (including children under 5 years of age) to Year 6, from 8am-6pm.
  • If a maintained nursery is providing wraparound care (i.e., provision for children in reception to Year 6, immediately before and/or after school hours) or want to expand to do this, then they will be eligible for funding.
  • This provision can be offered by schools and private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers (including childminders and early years settings) and can be run on a school site or at another setting in the area.
  • It should not require parents to pick their children up from school and drop them off at another location.
  • Many schools already offer enrichment and extra-curricular activities before and after the school day. The principal aim of the programme is to ensure childcare provision is regular, has longer hours and is more dependable for working parents.

What is the vision of the national wraparound childcare programme?

Local authority-led

Building on their existing duty to ensure that there is sufficient childcare in their local area, they will lead the strategy and delivery of the programme locally.

School-centred, with provision delivered by a variety of childcare providers.

Schools are uniquely placed to understand their communities and families. As happens now, we expect that the majority of parents will access childcare either through provision on a school site, or through the school signposting them to alternative local provision, for example PVIs and childminders. This approach reflects the diversity of delivery models for wraparound childcare and the need for coherence for parents.

Types of provision and delivery models

There is no one-size-fits-all model across or within local authorities, but these are examples of the types of provision which may be developed locally:

  • School-led provision delivered by school staff on a school site: Provision that operates on school premises, managed by staff employed directly by a school. The provision is open to all children in that school.
  • Private provider-led provision, on or off school site: Provision that is operated and delivered by staff employed by a private provider. If based on a school site, the private provider may rent space from the school to be able to operate provision. Provision could also be operated on another site rather than on school premises.
  • Community cluster model: A community-focused model with children from multiple schools attending provision on one site. This could be operated by a lead school, a private provider, a community organisation or any other appropriate body
  • Childminders: Provision delivered by childminders (registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency), which schools and local authorities signpost to. This could consist of a group of childminders working together on a single site or childminders working individually from their homes.
  • Early Years Providers: Provision delivered by early years providers which may take school aged children during wraparound hours. For example, a local nursery or a pre-school operating on or off a school site may run the provision before and after school hours.

SEND and special schools

  • The DfE is engaging with the sector, including co-design LAs, to understand the extent to which existing wraparound meets the needs of children with SEND, and what additional support may be required, for example with home to school transport.
  • The DfE expects LAs to factor all schools into their mapping activity. Where demand is identified for pupils attending non-mainstream schools, the DfE expects LAs to work with schools and other providers to establish appropriate provision where possible.
  • Providers may use allocated capital funding to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that services are accessible where this is not already the case.
  • Programme funding will be able to cover transport costs such as minibus hire (although not purchase, for which capital funding could be used).

Funding update (November 2023)

Local authorities will receive both programme and capital grant funding to deliver the wraparound programme in their area. We are currently working on the programme budget and local grant application process and will issue guidance in January 2024.

We are awaiting confirmation of the capital grant funding and hope to issue guidance in January 2024.

What the grant can be used for

  • To fund new and expanded wraparound provision, either to meet current demand or guarantee supply to build future demand, i.e. to contribute to start up/expansion and running costs for new places.

What the grant cannot be used for

  • Subsidise the cost of places. Any places created through the programme should be paid for by parents. (Parents will be able to use Universal Credit childcare support for up to 85% subsidy of their costs, and eligible parents can use Tax-Free Childcare to subsidise costs, covering 20% of costs up to £2k a year (or up to £4k for disabled children up to age 16).
  • The programme grant funding should not be used to contribute to the running cost of existing wraparound childcare places. This does not prevent use of funding to contribute to costs of expanding existing provision to create new childcare places.

Tax free childcare

It is advised that wraparound providers are aware of the Tax Free Childcare and activate their Tax Free Childcare Account, as this will be important in financially sustaining the wraparound childcare offer.

  • For every £8 families pay into an online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year


  • For working families, including the self-employed, in the UK
  • Earning under £100k and an average of £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage) each over three months
  • Who aren't receiving Tax Credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers
  • With children aged 0-11 (or 0-16 if disabled).


Further information on national developments and tax free childcare

Childcare Choices is a cross-government campaign that aims to make more parents aware of the financial support on offer to help them with the costs of childcare. The Childcare Choices website has now been updated to allow parents to find out what they will be eligible for and when to apply

There is also a resource page for childcare providers covering:

  • Tax free childcare
  • Business resources.

Please check this page frequently as we will posting all the programme updates here

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Last updated: 07 Mar 2024

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