SuperCamps - for your childcare needs during the school holidays

The school term is back in full swing which means October holidays will be here before you know it. If you haven’t decided what you’ll do with the kids yet, giving them the opportunity to learn, make new friends and have fun at a SuperCamp is certainly worth contemplating, especially because you can use your Computershare childcare vouchers for any of their offerings.

Thanks to their partnerships with leading brands including Lego Play, Cookery, Bushcraft, Mad Science and even the Chelsea FC Foundation football camp, SuperCamps has years of experience creating an enjoyable time for your children.

As you’d expect, it is an Ofsted recognised organisation offering a professional service with well-trained staff. The end result is an entertaining, rewarding and well-rounded experience for children from ages 4-14.

Currently operating at 56 venues across the country, the organisation provides a very popular and highly rated service so it’s a good idea to get in early. You’ll also benefit from discounted rates if you don’t leave it too late.

Not all locations offer the exact same activities but you can use your postcode to find your nearest SuperCamps and see what is on offer.

To book a SuperCamp using your Computershare vouchers, follow this guide on their site.

And the ‘Name That Teacher’ competition winner is…Camdean out of school club!

Pictured: Sam Collings from Computershare presents a cheque for £1,000 to help Camdean Primary School purchase after school club equipment. The money was won for the club by mum Tracy McDonald (right) and the cheque was presented to Diane Malcolm Acting Senior (left).

Pictured: Sam Collings from Computershare presents a cheque for £1,000 to help Camdean Primary School purchase after school club equipment. The money was won for the club by mum Tracy McDonald (right) and the cheque was presented to Diane Malcolm Acting Senior (left).

Back in July and August 2018 we held our ‘Name That Teacher’ Facebook competition. We gave you the chance to win £1000 for your favourite over 5s childcare setting to spend on vital equipment.

We asked entrants to name the quote from a famous fictional teacher along with the over 5’s childcare setting they wanted the money to go to.

Out of hundreds of entries, the winners were Camdean Primary School. We awarded them the money after parent Tracy McDonald’s response was randomly selected out of all our correct answers. The funds will be used by the schools over 5s out of school club, which provides wrap around childcare after the school day is finished.

Julian Foster, Managing Director at Computershare Voucher Services, said: “We’re delighted to help Camdean Primary School provide much needed childcare for pupils outside the school day.”

Diane Malcolm, acting Senior Childcare Practitioner at Camdean out of school club, said: “This donation will enable us to purchase additional equipment and toys to create a high-quality learning and play after-school environment for pupils.”

Do you know the real cost of childcare for over 5’s?

As 2018 rolls to a close, do you know how much you spent on childcare for your over 5’s? According to the Family and Childcare Trust Annual Childcare Survey 2018 “the price of holiday childcare across the UK has increased by 4 per cent since last year – twice the rate of inflation.”

Their recent survey looked into the cost of childcare throughout Great Britain. They say their report, which is the 17th they’ve assembled looking into childcare prices in the UK, shows ‘the disparities between different regions, as well as problems that parents face with not only price, but availability of childcare.’

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey shows that the cost of children rockets in the school holidays. The average price of an after school club in Britain is £56.38 per week, compared to an average weekly rate of £62.25 for a childminder. With the average price of holiday childcare in Britain at £133 per week, this means holiday childcare costs are more than double than an after school club during term time.

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With roughly 14 weeks of childcare scattered throughout the year, finding suitable childcare can be a challenge. While some are fortunate enough to be able to grandparents, friends or other family willing to help out,, some are forced to take holiday from work, or not work at all.

Some parents resort to ‘shift parenting’, where parents use their annual leave at different times: but this means less time together as a family.

According to the survey “about twice as many children use school age childcare as nurseries – about 3 million per year, yet holiday childcare for school-aged children is often overlooked when we talk about childcare policy.”

Top Tip! You can use childcare vouchers to pay for holiday childcare providing the carer is registered with Ofsted in England, or an equivalent governing body.

Childcare around the school day – how you can fill the gaps!

As a working parent, the problem of childcare in the hours before and after the school day can be a worry. Whether your day starts earlier than school hours, or ends long after the bell rings, you've plenty of options to keep kids occupied.

Out-of-school clubs can help to fill the gap between your working hours and core school hours. It's called ‘wrap-around childcare’ and often operates as breakfast, after-school or homework clubs.

Not only can this type of childcare help daily life run smoothly, it can also be great for your child’s personal development. In this extra-curricular time they could learn an instrument in music lessons, get some exercise with a local sports club, or just make some new friends!

These types of childcare setting vary greatly in size, hours and available activities. To help you choose the one that’s right for you and your child, here’s a handy checklist:

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Of course, don’t forget your Computershare Childcare Vouchers can be used to pay for out-of-school clubs. If you’re wondering where you can find out about great wrap-around childcare opportunities near you, here’s a few places you can try:

  • If you’re in England and Wales, use the government online postcode search. You can  check your local council for information on childcare out of school hours, and before and after school clubs, including breakfast clubs and homework clubs.

  • You can also use the same service to find a registered childminder.

  • If you’re after some tried and tested recommendations, then check out websites such as www.netmums.com or www.mumsnet.com where you can ask other parents about their favourite childcare providers.

  • You can use the ‘find a carer’ feature from your Computershare childcare voucher account. Simply search by postcode to see which carers are nearest to you and registered with us. If they don’t appear, we can add them for free – just give us a call on 0345 002 1122!

3 childcare myths – dispelled!

There are a lot of preconceptions about childcare and childcare vouchers. Let us bust 3 common myths for you today!

Myth 1: You can only use childcare vouchers for pre-schoolers

Fact: Vouchers definitely aren’t just for pre-schoolers. Registered childcare providers who look after school-age children can also accept them as payment. In fact, they can be used for any children up to 15 years old (or 16 if registered disabled) in a variety of settings such as childminders, breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday clubs. These types of childcare settings help bridge the gap between a school’s core hours and a parent’s working day.

Myth 2: Childminders aren't regulated

Fact: All childminders are registered with Ofsted in England or an equivalent governing body in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and will have to go through regular inspections. If they’re caring for children under 5 they will be on the Early Years Register and also need to make sure they deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. Those who are registered on the Childcare Register can also care for 5-7 year olds. As well as the above, they have to hold:

·         Public liability insurance

·         An up-to-date paediatric first aid certificate

·         A valid Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and sign up to the update service

·         A doctor’s certificate showing they are mentally and physically fit for childcare

·         Permission from their landlord to use their premises as a childcare facility if they rent

Myth 3: My children are too old and no longer need childcare

Fact: Don’t write off the chance to save just because you think your children are too old - childcare vouchers are for children of up to 15 (16 if registered disabled).

You can also save up your vouchers throughout the year and use them when you need them most - this can be especially handy for childcare during the long summer holidays. The vouchers can be used for holiday clubs, residential summer camps, activity holidays and much more.

Always remember to ask your carer if they accept childcare vouchers – you could be pleasantly surprised!

 

Update on #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign – your voice is being heard!

At the end of last year, you amazing people successfully managed to smash the petition target of 100,000 signatures needed to for a Parliamentary debate to keep the childcare vouchers scheme open. In March of 2018, the Government debated and announced they would keep childcare vouchers open for new entrants* alongside Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) for another 6 months, taking the deadline from April to October 2018.

Fight to keep childcare vouchers scheme open beyond October

With just a few weeks before the childcare voucher scheme is set to close to new entrants, opposition MPs in Parliament have signed up to support keeping it open – your voice is being heard!

An Early-Day Motion, stating the government should not close the scheme without a proper analysis of the winners and losers, calls for MPs to have the opportunity to debate and vote on the proposed changes in Parliament before they are fully implemented.

Many ordinary working families stand to lose out if childcare vouchers close to new entrants on 4 October 2018 - and time is running out.

We believe the childcare voucher scheme being open alongside Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) gives parents like you a genuine choice for the support that best suits your family. We want this scheme to continue beyond October and with your help, we know we can do it!

Whether you’re a parent, an employer, or a childcare provider – please see below for ways you can help.

3 easy ways you can help to keep childcare vouchers open:

1. Contact your local MP.

Ask them to sign the Early-Day Motion and put pressure on the government to keep childcare vouchers open – it’s free, easy to do, and takes less than five minutes. Just visit www.theyworkforyou.com, enter your postcode to find out who represents you, and click on the green “Send a message” button to contact them.

2. Share the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign with your friends and colleagues, including new or expectant parents

Encourage your networks to write to their MP so that all parents can have access to childcare vouchers beyond October. As the deadline to join the scheme approaches, they may lose out unless the government keeps it open.

3. Share this campaign on social media

Use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to demonstrate your support for the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign and follow @Save_CCV for important news and updates on the campaign.

Visit this page to see some simple social media posts you can just copy, paste and post!

Click here to find out more about our campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers and find out how you can help spread the word to keep the scheme open to new entrants* beyond October.

* Please note, parents who are already on the childcare voucher scheme, and have had at least one childcare voucher taken from their pay in the last rolling 12-month period, can stay on their employer’s scheme for as long as they remain eligible, even if the scheme closes.