This week, I attended an initial meeting with the Scottish Funding Council to find out if SCMA can help and guide an improved method for colleges to administer childcare costs to parents who are students.
Thanks to your input and the survey responses from 143 members, I presented your feedback to the Scottish Funding Council, which helped to clarify the issues.
I put forward two suggestions:
- direct payments for the childcare provider
- a specialised voucher scheme.
It was determined that setting up a procedure for direct payments to the childcare provider would not be possible. This was because it would be too complex to administer especially where there are a number of childcare providers associated with the one family, i.e. a childminder and a nursery.
Alternatively, I suggested a voucher scheme – similar to the current childcare voucher scheme that many parents and childminders already use to pay and collect fees. This would ensure that funding from the college would go directly to the childcare provider via a specific voucher.
The Council were interested about this idea and will look into it further. SCMA will provide additional support to the Council to assist with their investigations.
We all agreed that it would help if information was available to both students and childcare providers, regarding the college’s terms and conditions. Hopefully this will be the first thing to happen.
I also suggested that some form of deposit could be arranged in order to cover the time between a placement starting to when the funding is in place.
The current system is just as confusing for parents and does not work well for colleges so I'm sure that improvements can be made.
I will keep you posted with how things are progressing. Stay tuned to childminding.org.
In the meantime, if you know of a college childcare payment system that is already successful, please let me know. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org