Pre-school credit scheme

Eligibility 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 2021, for children whose date of birth falls between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018.

How much is the credit

There is a universal credit of £3,420 per eligible child, which can be used towards the cost of a pre-school place with a pre-school provider or childminder registered with the Department of Health and Social Care.

Receiving 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 pre-school provider/childminder. Agree with the pre-school provider/childminder 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, Sport and Culture.

Restrictions on when I can use my credit award

The pre-school credit award is allocated on a monthly basis and can be claimed a month in advance, the amount of award available for a child who attends pre-school all year round will be £285.00 per month. The amount of award available for a child who attends term-time will be up to £342.00 per month with the exception of December, April and July when up to £228 can be claimed and there is no credit remaining for August.

Knowing 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, Sport and Culture on 687146 or by email to: Pre-SchoolCredit.DESC@gov.im

Registering part way through the year

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

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 £3,420 for each month of residence (approximately £285 per month).

For example, if you arrive in December 2021, you will be entitled to 9 months credit, providing a total credit of £2,565 to be used in the school year running from September 2021 to August 2022.

I am leaving the Island

If you are leaving the Island, you should notify the Department of Education, Sport and Culture 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.

Changing or having a dispute with my pre-school provider

Contact the Department of Education, Sport and Culture to notify them that you are changing your pre-school provider/childminder. The Department will contact your current provider to ensure they have submitted their final claim, 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 the tear-off slip to your new provider.

The Department of Education, Sport and Culture 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.

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.

Using the credit award for other child-minding services

From September 2019 the credit can now be used for Pre-School childcare provided by a registered childminder.

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 r.iadults.dhsc@gov.im 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, Sport and Culture).

Attending a Primary School in the same area as the Pre-School

Acceptance of a child into a pre-school has no influence on where the child can be subsequently enrolled for primary education. Details of the catchment areas that exist for primary schools may be obtained from the Department of Education, Sport and Culture by telephoning +44 1624 685820.

What will happen if my Provider or Childminder is closed due to circumstances, whether within their control or outside of their control?

In the event of such closure, the Department will review the terms and conditions of the award and funding may be withdrawn for the duration of this closure period.

Further information

For matters relating to the Pre-School Credit Award system, please contact the Department of Education, Sport and Culture by telephone: +44 1624 687146 or by email to: Pre-SchoolCredit.DESC@gov.im