Pre-school credit scheme FAQs
Is my child eligible for pre-school credit award?
In order to be eligible for a pre-school credit award, a child must be resident in the Isle of Man and have their fourth birthday in the school year to which the credit applies.
Applications are now open for the school year commencing in September 2017, for children with a date of birth between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014. Applications may also still be made for the current school year (2016-17), for children with a date of birth between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013.
How much is the credit?
There is a universal credit of £1,700 per eligible child, which can be used towards the cost of a pre-school place with a provider registered with the Department of Health and Social Care.
Parents in receipt of Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Employed Person's Allowance or Income Support may be entitled to the higher rate credit of £2,150 per eligible child. This higher rate is subject to validation by the Social Security Division of the Treasury and will be reduced on a pro rata basis where benefits are not payable for the full year.
What do I do when I receive confirmation of my credit award?
If you have not already done so, you should secure a place for your child with a provider of child day care services registered with the Department of Health and Social Care.
Complete and sign the tear off slip from your award letter and hand this in to your chosen provider. Agree with the provider how much credit you wish them to offset against your invoices, subject to the restrictions below. Your provider will reclaim the credit applied from the Department of Education and Children.
Are there any restrictions on when I can use my credit award?
How the credit award is used depends on the arrangements you make with your provider.
However, you can only use up to one-half of the credit value in the first half of the school year (September to February) but, if you use less than one-half in that period, you can use the remaining balance in the second half of the year (March to August).
Please note that the credit may only be used within the school year and any balance remaining at the end of August will be lost.
How will I know when the value is exhausted?
Your provider is responsible for keeping a record of the amount of credit that has been applied to your bills and should be able to tell you how much is left at any time.
You can also check how much has been claimed by the provider against your credit by contacting the Department of Education and Children on +44 1624 685832 or by email to: email@example.com
I have become entitled to benefits part way through the year, do I qualify for the additional credit award?
Provided you are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits (Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Employed Person's Allowance or Income Support), you will be entitled to the higher rate credit for the period of the year in which the benefits are payable. This is calculated on a pro rata basis at £37.50 per month, and is in addition to the universal credit of £1,700.
For example, if you became entitled to Income Support during December, you would be entitled to a total credit of £2,037.50, being £337.50 for the 9 months credit at the higher rate of £37.50 per month (period from December to August), plus the universal credit of £1,700.
This is subject to confirmation of your benefit status being provided by the Social Security Division of the Treasury.
Is it too late to register part way through the year and will I get the full amount?
You can apply for the credit award at any time during the school year and, providing you have been resident for the full year, you will be entitled to the full year's credit. Please note, however, that the credit must be used within the school year and any balance remaining at the end of August will be lost.
I have recently moved to the Island, am I entitled to a credit award?
If you take up residence after the start of the school year in which your child is eligible for a pre-school credit, the amount of credit will be calculated on a pro rata basis from the date of residence. This will be at the rate of one twelfth of the universal credit of £1,700 for each month of residence (approximately £141.67 per month).
For example, if you arrive in December 2017, you will be entitled to 9 months credit, providing a total credit of £1,275 to be used in the school year running from September 2017 to August 2018.
What if I am leaving the Island?
If you are leaving the Island, you should notify the Department of Education and Children of your departure date. Entitlement to the pre-school credit would be on a pro rata basis up to the date of departure at the rate applicable.
What if I want to change my pre-school provider?
Contact the Department of Education and Children to notify them that you are changing your pre-school provider. You will receive a revised credit award letter, including a tear-off slip showing the amount of credit previously claimed and the balance remaining. Complete and hand in this tear-off slip to your new provider.
What if I have a dispute with my pre-school provider?
The Department of Education and Children has no powers to arbitrate in a dispute between you and your provider.
The department can, however, provide information as to how much credit has been claimed against an award, or the balance remaining, and may be able to place a 'stop' against the award to prevent further credit being deducted.
What are the prices charged by pre-school providers?
This varies depending on the provider, the length of sessions and the number of sessions you commit to, so should be checked with the provider.
Do I have to use the service for a full week’s attendance?
This depends on the arrangements you agree with your provider. There is no requirement for you to do so.
Can I use the credit award for other child-minding services?
No, the credit may only be used with Department of Health and Social Care-registered providers of child day care.
Where can I find a list of registered providers of child day care who offer pre-school provision?
A list of DHSC-registered providers may be downloaded from the main pre-school page on this website. If a provider is not listed, you can make enquiries to the Department of Health and Social Care by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on +44 1624 642422.
(Note that these contact details relate only to queries concerning the registration of child day care providers. All other enquiries should be directed to the Department of Education and Children).
Who do I contact for further information?
For matters relating to the Pre-School Credit Award system, please contact the Department of Education and Children by telephone: +44 1624 685832 or by email to: Pre-SchoolCredit.DEC3@doe.gov.im.