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Preparing for 2026: Everything Primary Schools Need to Know About Wraparound Provision

Jul 1, 2024 | Physical Education

By 2026, all primary schools in the UK will need to provide wraparound care, ensuring term-time childcare from 8am to 6pm. This initiative by the Department for Education aims to support working families by providing accessible childcare options across the country.

What is Wraparound Care?

Wraparound care encompasses before and after-school provision that enables parents and carers to access childcare outside of standard school hours. The goal is to afford parents the flexibility they need to sustain employment. To understand more about wraparound care, please visit the government’s detailed advice.

Why Wraparound Care is So Important

Wraparound care plays a crucial role in supporting the modern family unit and educational system:

  • Support for Working Parents: Extended childcare hours allow parents to maintain full-time employment without the worry of school pickup and drop-off times.
  • Enhanced Learning Opportunities: Such care provides extended learning opportunities for children, including extracurricular activities and homework support.
  • Consistency and Stability: It offers a consistent and stable environment for children, contributing to their overall well-being and structured daily routine.
  • Socio-Economic Benefits: By supporting parents in the workforce, wraparound care contributes to the broader economy and reduces the strain on public assistance programmes.

Requirements for Primary Schools

To meet the 2026 mandate, primary schools need to consider several key areas to successfully implement wraparound care:

1. Extend Childcare Hours

Schools must offer childcare services from 8am to 6pm during term time. This commitment ensures full-day coverage for working parents.

Key Actions:

  • Survey Parents: Gauge the specific needs and preferences of your school community.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Develop flexible program schedules that cater to different age groups and activities.

2. Resource Allocation

Schools need to allocate appropriate resources to support the extended hours, including both human and physical resources.

Key Actions:

  • Staffing: Hire qualified staff who can manage and deliver quality care and activities. Ensure that ratios align with Ofsted regulations.
  • Facilities: Designate suitable spaces within the school for wraparound care, ensuring they are safe and equipped with necessary materials.
  • Training: Provide ongoing professional development for staff to maintain high standards of care and educational support.

3. Sustainability Planning

Developing a sustainability plan is crucial to ensure long-term operation and success of the wraparound care program.

Key Actions:

  • Financial Planning: Create a budget that covers all costs, including staffing, facilities, materials, and contingencies.
  • Revenue Streams: Explore various funding options, including government grants, parental fees, and possible partnerships with local businesses and organisations.

4. Compliance Monitoring

Regularly monitor and maintain compliance with government guidelines and standards to ensure high-quality provision.

Key Actions:

  • Policy Updates: Keep school policies updated in line with the latest government requirements and best practices.
  • Quality Assurance: Implement quality assurance measures such as regular assessments and feedback loops to continually improve service provision.
  • Health and Safety: Ensure health and safety protocols are strictly adhered to, creating a secure environment for children.

Government Funding and Reforms

To assist schools in meeting these requirements, the Government is introducing several childcare reforms that include significant funding opportunities:

Extended Childcare Funding

The Government recognises the financial burden that comes with extending childcare hours. Hence, dedicated funds have been allocated to support primary schools in setting up and maintaining wraparound care. These funds can be used for:

  • Hiring Staff: Salaries and benefits for additional staff needed to cover the extended hours.
  • Training Programs: Professional development for current and new staff to ensure quality care and learning.
  • Facility Enhancements: Upgrades to existing facilities or creation of new areas dedicated to childcare activities—ensuring a safe and stimulating environment for children.
  • Operational Costs: Costs such as utilities, materials, educational resources, and maintenance to support the daily operations of the wraparound program.

Parent Support and Affordability

The reforms have been designed to make wraparound care more affordable for working families, thereby increasing accessibility:

  • Subsidies: Financial subsidies are available to reduce the cost that parents need to pay for childcare, making it more affordable and encouraging uptake.
  • Tax Credits: Families may benefit from various tax credits which can help offset the cost of extended childcare.

Implementation Support

The Government will also provide guidance and support to ensure schools are well-prepared to implement wraparound care:

  • Advisory Services: Consultation services to help schools understand the requirements and develop a strategic plan.
  • Workshops and Training: Regular workshops and training sessions to equip school administrators and staff with the knowledge and skills needed to manage and deliver wraparound services effectively.

How Sprint Active Education Can Help

At Sprint Active Education, we understand that adapting to these new requirements might seem daunting. We are here to assist:

  • Advisory Services: We provide advisory services to help schools understand and implement the necessary changes.
  • Support and Training: Our team offers support and training for staff to ensure smooth and effective operation of wraparound care.
  • Resource Management: We’ll assist in resource planning and management, ensuring you have everything you need to meet the requirements.
  • Funding Application Assistance: Through our partnerships with local authorities across the Midlands, we can support schools in applying for the available funding to ensure they have the financial resources needed to set up or extend their wraparound care programs.
  • Full Wraparound Service Setup: We can set up and deliver full wraparound services tailored to your school’s needs. For more information, please visit wraparound service page

If you need any support or additional information, please feel free to contact us.

Download our Free Checklist

To help your school stay on track with the implementation of wraparound care, we have created a comprehensive checklist outlining all necessary steps. This checklist includes all the vital aspects from facility preparation to staffing and financial management.

Download the Free Wraparound Care Implementation Checklist here

Conclusion

The upcoming mandate for wraparound care by 2026 is a significant step towards supporting working families in the UK. While it presents certain challenges, with proper planning and support, your primary school can successfully meet these requirements and provide valuable childcare options for your community.

We at Sprint Active Education are committed to helping you through every step of this transition. Together, let’s make this a successful and sustainable initiative to benefit both schools and families alike.

For detailed government advice on wraparound childcare, click here.


Sprint Active Education: Guiding Schools Towards a Better Future.

Feel free to reach out to us for any assistance or queries. Let’s work together to make 2026 a successful milestone for all primary schools.


For more information, visit Sprint Active Education’s Website and our dedicated Wraparound Service Page.