Strensall News & Events

Events at Strensall

Strensall’s upcoming events are:

For Mothers Day, Mother’s, Grandmas, and Female Carers are invited to attend an afternoon Tea and Craft evening on Thursday 8th March from 4.00pm onwards. Enjoy some culinary delights and create some memorable crafts with your child.

Babies– have been painting some pictures using the trains and car wheels by rolling them through paint and along the paper and exploring the marks they make. As well as learning about toys we have also been getting messy in a range of messy and sensory play such as paint, sand and our favourite was floating the flashing balls in water play. Next month we are continuing with the theme but also adding more shapes and problem solving activities as the children seemed to have really enjoyed the toy theme.

Toddlers– have been deep into our space topic this month and have been practicing our countdowns and making our own rockets. We have baked meteorite rook buns and used hammers to break open moon rocks. The children have also been interested in fireworks so we sat and watched London’s firework display on the iPad. Through this a fascination with church bells (courtesy of Big Ben) has developed! We look forward to continuing with their fireworks interest with Chinese New Year next month. Toddlers have recently started their new transport topic in Pre-School. We have talked about how to be safe around the road and different types of transport too. We have learnt names of different types of transport in
French by playing a game to help us remember the different names.

Preschool– did a short winter topic after coming back from our Christmas holidays. We talked about the different types of weather we have in winter and we learnt the names of winter clothing in French. We went on a winter adventure in yoga and we talked about the importance of warming up and cooling down when we do yoga so we don’t injure our bodies. We also made some hot chocolate cookies which were very tasty! We have had a variety of winter weather in the last few weeks so we have enjoyed exploring this in real life outside in our nursery garden and nature garden.

After a 12 month trial in certain areas across the country, 30 hours’ early years funding will roll out in September 2017 for eligible working parents, doubling the present system of 15 hours. At the same time, a new scheme, Tax-Free Childcare, will also kick off. Both schemes could knock pounds off your monthly childcare bill!

The 30 hour free early years funding system adds to the current 15 hours available to all 3 & 4 year olds. From September, working parents can receive up to a further 15 hours, if you qualify. The checks are:-
– Each parent earning the equivalent of 16 hours on the national minimum wage per week (currently £107 per week). They may work less hours, but the earnings will be of this amount or more.
– Each parent earning less than £100,000 per year
– In a single parent family, these criteria will apply in the same way for that one parent

In a family where only one parent is earning, the proposed eligibility allows for:
• When one or both parent/s is away on leave such as parental, maternal, paternal or adoption leave i.e. their absence is temporary
• When one or both parent/s is on Statutory sick i.e. their absence is temporary
• When one parent is employed and the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities; is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits

You can register through the following link:
You will have to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. This is really important as it triggers information to the Local Authority, notifying them of your right to continue with the extra funding. You will be prompted to reconfirm, we are told.
If your employment circumstances change during a 3 month period, there is a ‘grace period’ where your funding continues at the higher rate.
So if you think you are eligible, please get on with your registration as soon as possible. Do not leave it to the last few days, as there is already difficulty registering people and we want to make sure you do receive the extra funding if applicable.

‘Tax-Free Childcare’ will be launched early 2017. There will be some definite changes for parents currently using childcare vouchers, such as the maximum age of a child. You’ll be able to use the scheme for your child up to the age of 12 years (currently 15 years), but up to the age of 17 years if your child has disabilities (currently 16 years).

In terms of money, you will receive 20p from the government towards your childcare, for every 80p you contribute. They say this is the equivalent of the tax most people pay (i.e. 20%), hence their catchy phrase, ‘tax-free childcare’. Their maximum contribution in a year is £2000 for your £8000. If your child has disabilities, the support rises to £4000.

That is more than the maximum of £243 that can be claimed each month by each parent under the present system. You should also consider that the present Childcare Voucher system can only be used by employees, and only if the Employer has joined the scheme. However, there are other things to weigh up with the changes, to make sure what you choose works for you:

The new system requires both parents in the household to be working, or one parent in a single-parent family, in much the same way that the new 30 hours funding system will work. To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each earning just over an average of £100 a week and not more than £100,000 each per year. The scheme will also be available to parents on paid sick leave and paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

If you’re in a household where only one of two parents work, you can remain on the current childcare voucher scheme for as long as as your employer offers it. If you’re not on it at the moment, but you prefer it to the new system, you need to start using it. Once ‘tax-free childcare’ begins, the childcare voucher scheme will be frozen to new entrants.

You’ll have an account that you create from following the link at In that account, you will input various details about income and employment which will be checked by the HMRC. You’ll then pay in your contribution, to be added to by the government contribution. Using a drop-down menu, you’ll allocate where your childcare payment goes. You will only be able to use the funds for childcare that is registered officially e.g. through Ofsted.

With your account, you as well as family members, employers, can also pay in, as and when you like. The government hopes this means you can build up your balance when it’s convenient to you, and use it when you may need childcare more than usual eg during school holidays. If you’ve built up a balance and no longer need it, you can withdraw the money… although the government will withdraw their contribution too.