Family Action's network for schools and childcare providers in England. Share knowledge, discuss issues, be inspired.

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Learning Exchange: news centre

Picks of the week

Disability Grants    Search for grants and funding offered to families and children and young people with SEND. You can find grants that are available nationally or in your local area.

Bolton CVS: One-off grants of around £5,000 to help community organisations based or working in any area of Bolton to promote and improve inclusion and participation of children and young people with SEND.


Awards for All

FUNDING ALERTS: If only it grew on trees… a common refrain when funding is scarce. Whenever they come our way, we post alerts to awards and funding sources relevant to school-based childcare and holiday activity programmes.

Contact your local authority

Thinking of setting up childcare provision at a school? Some local authorities can offer support (sometimes through advice or small amounts of start-up assistance), so it could be worth making contact to find out what is available to help you get going. Be prepared by drawing up a business plan before you make contact and then ask your local authority if they can help you refine it. Also ask your local authority to direct you to examples of schools that are using pupil premium funding to boost achievement through before- and after-school activities/care. 

The Pupil Premium in before- and after-school care

Pupil Premium Funding    Here is information on the Department for Education website about the pupil premium funding amounts for the period 2014 to 2015, illustrative allocations, identifying disadvantaged pupils, and so on.

Early Years Pupil Premium Guide for local authorities  DfE guidance on how much Early Years Pupil Premium funding local authorities will receive and how they should distribute it to early years providers.

Toolkit for effective use of the Pupil Premium    This toolkit, from the Education Endowment Foundation, suggests ways in which the funding per pupil can be used to raise achievement levels - in many cases through activities or programmes outside school hours. People who manage childcare provision on school sites, whether they are external organisations or school staff, would find this toolkit useful. In particular, look at the after-school programmes and early years intervention sections of the toolkit, which point out suggestions for how the funding could be used. Childcare and school staff can work together to negotiate how some of these funds can be used in after-school activities which are linked to pupils' learning plans with the aim of raising achievement levels.  

New breakfast club funding

Magic Breakfast is currently offering funding, support and resources for schools that want to set up a breakfast club.

Other support for breakfast clubs

Why not also check out these popular sources of funding for breakfast clubs?

Funding alerts

  • Awards for All: Overview and information from Big Lottery Fund   This information clarifies who can apply for Awards for All grants and what the processes are. It has been sent to the Learning Exchange in response to a question asked on ‘BIG Advice’, which is the funder’s online chat service, on 11 September 2013. We asked if Awards for All grants can be used to fund out-of-school hours clubs that are part of a school’s childcare offer. The answer is yes, but please note that the Big Lottery Fund advises applications can take four months to be processed. The eight most common mistakes people make when applying for Awards for All grants

  • Communication skills are hugely important for a successful life. Some children struggle to develop their communication abilities, though, for a variety of reasons. If your childcare setting, no matter where it is, wants to support such children to improve their skills, you may be interested in ICAN's Chatterbox Challenge during February 9 to 15 2015. You'll be offered a free fundraising pack with lots of ideas for activities in it, and you could even be in with a chance of winning up to £2,000 to spend on educational supplies which could make a nice contribution to helping you sustain your own provision. (Every little helps - and you could even have a visit from Ben and Holly!)
  • Sports England Small Grants   If you would like to introduce a new sports activity into your holiday activities programme that would encourage more young people to get involved, you may want to have a look at what Sports England can offer. Be sure to read the pre-application notes.

  • Wooden Spoon   This organisation offers grants for projects that aim to improve the quality and prospect of life for children and young people with SEN or those who are socially disadvantaged, in the UK and Ireland. Grants are available to special needs schools (around £20,000 to £100,000, which represent 25 to 100 per cent of the total project's costs).
  • Field Studies Council:  Kids Fund   This fund offers children and young people who are disadvantaged through their health, mobility, or their financial circumstances, the chance to get involved in a practical way with projects that focus on the environment.
  • The Ironmongers’ Company grants   This organisation supports projects that offer children and young people from disadvantaged communities opportunities that develop their learning, motivation and skills (eg to support children with special education needs).

View other useful links to possible sources of funding and support for your childcare provision.