Parents and guardians of children who have their fourth birthday between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019 are being reminded they can apply for a credit of £3,420 for use towards the cost of pre-school education.
Member for the Department of Education, Sport and Culture, Ann Corlett MHK, said:
'Good quality early years education has a positive and long term impact on children’s attainment, progress and social-behavioural development. That’s why this administration is investing heavily in the financial support available to parents to put towards pre-school education.
'The former standard rate of the pre-school credit was doubled in this year’s Budget, increasing from £1,700 to £3,420 per child. The credit is now a universal benefit, which means that every child is entitled to the same amount.
'The financial contribution the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) makes available to parents for pre-school education has increased by almost a factor of 10 – a difference of 877 per cent – since its introduction in 2012.
'We want children to get the best possible start in life. This significant investment demonstrates Government’s commitment to that objective.'
Applying for the credit can be done online and is quick and easy. Hard copies of the application form are also available from the Welcome Centre at the Sea Terminal in Douglas and from DESC’s headquarters at Hamilton House on Peel Road.
Up to one half of the total credit can be used between September 2018 and February 2019 and the remaining balance, or the whole amount, can be used between March 2019 and August 2019.
In the 2017-18 academic year, a total of 775 credits have been issued to parents of children having their fourth birthday during the year.
Parents are reminded that 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 DESC by telephoning 01624 685820.