FIGURES released by the Department of Education and Children reveal that it has subsidised pre-school nurseries £481,833.44 this academic year.
During 2012-13, 875 credit certificates have been issued to parents of children whose fourth birthday fell during the year.
Of these, 655 certificates have been issued at the standard credit amount of £350, while 220 parents on benefits have received the higher rate of £1,150 (or a reduced amount where there is only a part-year entitlement to these benefits).
There are 37 providers of pre-school education, operating 45 different pre-school facilities throughout the island.
The DEC’s pre-school credit scheme is to continue for 2013-14.
The scheme provides £350 towards the cost of pre-school to all parents of children who reach their fourth birthday between September 1, 2013 and August 31, 2014.
An additional £800 is available to those who would be eligible for free school meals – i.e. in receipt of Employed Person’s Allowance, Income Support or income based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The credit – issued in the form of a certificate – can be used with providers of daycare which offer pre-school provision. Half of the total credit can be used between September 2013 and February 2014 and the remaining balance, or the whole amount, can be used between March and August 2014.
The government’s Customer First team will continue to administer the scheme. Application forms for 2013-14 will be available from May 2013.
Parents can apply for the 2013-14 credit via the government website http://cf.gov.im. Copies of the application form are available from the Welcome Centre at the Sea Terminal, Douglas, the DEC’s office at Hamilton House, Peel Road, Douglas, or by ringing 651540.
A list of registered providers is available online and from the Department of Social Care’s Registration and Inspections Service, 3/4 Hill Street, Douglas IM1 1EF. Call 642427.
The taxpayer-funded scheme began after the DEC stopped providing free pre-school places in 2012 due to cuts.