We receive regular questions about what funding is available for early (pre-school) childcare in England.
There is a nursery education grant for all three and four year olds, regardless of nationality, as long as the child is legally resident in the UK.
This is sometimes wrongly interpreted as free nursery care, covering 15 hours a week during term times. In effect the grant will only make a contribution to the cost of childcare, as the funding is set at an insufficient level for most nurseries to cover costs.
From 2017 this will double to 30 hours per week but again with the funding level set very low.
The nurseries manage the grant so families receive the money back as a refund or reduced fees.
There is also funding available for under-3’s but this is means-tested and most corporate families are unlikely to be eligible for this.
Free nursery care can be available for three and four year olds through nurseries attached to a state school and some (though very few) state school nurseries.
Some companies also provide childcare vouchers that allow some tax relief on nursery care. The company HR would be able to advise on the scheme.
Brexit could potentially have major implications for global mobility policy but how will it impact on the nuts and bolts of families finding education solutions in the UK?
There is a high chance that most elements of UK education will remain consistent for incoming families who have the right to reside in the UK. Both state and independent schools will continue to allocate places in a similar fashion as before the referendum.
One complicated area could be funding in further and higher education.
Currently EU students are able to attend UK universities at the same fee level as “home” UK students – and the reverse is also true for UK students in Europe.
However, with a “hard brexit” EU students could be charged the higher rates that other overseas students have to pay, often double the level of home fee families.
Likewise UK families resident in the EU for a long period of time may lose their right to home fee status, or at least face harsher rules to prove their eligibility.
One of the major political stories of the summer has been the proposed re-introduction of grammar schools across England.
Grammar schools are state secondary schools (ages 11 to 18) that select pupils on the basis of academic ability – usually a test that pupils sit in the final year of primary school.
Once a central pillar of the English education system, most grammar schools were abolished in 1960s with only a few local authorities retaining them (for example Kent and Buckinghamshire).
Debate over their re-introduction rages – the main discussion points being how effectively they drive-up educational standards and act as a catalyst for social mobility.
However, on a practical level, their re-introduction would bring new challenges for families relocating into the English state system.
Muddying the admissions process: There would be an even greater variety than currently exists in the admissions processes of both individual schools and the local authorities (and its complicated now!)
Available places: Obtaining a place outside of formal entry points (11+, 16+, possibly 13+) will be challenging. Parents, once in a grammar school, tend to cling to their place and there will be less movement in the system for relocating families to take advantage of.
Two-tier system: Grammar schools create a two-tier system with the brighter kids fenced in the grammars and the less able kids penned in “all-ability” schools that tend to work at a lower level. These are the schools likely to be able to help relocating families.
Change in deadlines: Earlier application deadlines due to testing schedules will impact on families, forcing them to commit to housing earlier if they want to be included in the grammar entry process.
Dean Associates will keep you updated with all developments in this area.
A nice piece of feedback from a family moving from the US with two boys, one of whom needed a specialist school to support his special educational needs.
I did want to also let you know that I found working with Dean Associates to be wonderful … always available and really helped me hone in on what I was looking for with regards to schools for the boys.