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The Additional Support Grant provides funding to help ensure that eligible children with additional support needs can access the Childcare Offer.

The Additional Support Grant (ASG) provides funding to help ensure that eligible children with additional support needs can access the childcare element of the Childcare Offer in the same way as other eligible children.

The research was conducted between May 2023 and February 2024. It used a mixed-methods approach, including a review of management information, an online survey with childcare providers, and in depth interviews with stakeholders, childcare providers, local authorities and parents.

Providers felt confident caring for children with ALN: four-in-five (82%) providers were confident identifying children with a potential ALN, just over two-thirds (70%) knew the steps to obtain a formal ALN assessment for a child, and four-in-five were confident working with children who have an ALN (81%).

Awareness of the ASG among providers was relatively low. Around two-thirds (67%) of providers had never heard of the ASG, around one-in-five (19%) had heard of the ASG but never applied to it, and just under one-in-five (15%) had heard of it and were in the process of applying for it or had already applied.

In 2021-22 Welsh Government spent around £1.1m through the ASG across all 22 local authority areas in Wales. Spend by local authority ranged from around £7,000 to around £180,000, with an average (mean) spend per local authority of around £49,000.

The ASG has been welcomed by local authorities as a much-needed resource to help with their response to growing demand for additional support for children with ALN. Local authorities have invested a great deal of thinking into developing processes to make effective use of the grant and integrate it in the overall budget that was allocated for ALN support in their respective areas.

Local authorities reported having to navigate a complex system of funding streams, of which the ASG was one. This added complexity to the funding process, and poses a risk of funding options being overlooked, which can mean eligible families might miss out.

Welsh Government may wish to review the current guidance and consider amendments to make it clearer what the ASG can be used to fund.

Welsh Government might consider working with local authorities to jointly develop communications and information campaigns to providers and families to ensure that all those who are eligible and need ASG support have access to it.

Local authorities could work with providers in all sectors (early years and schools) and families to identify additional support needs at an earlier stage.

Welsh Government may wish to consider developing and implementing a process and templates for a consistent and systematic procedure to capture and report more granular grant management information from local authorities to Welsh Government.


Research into the Childcare Offer for Wales Additional Support Grant: final report , file type: PDF, file size: 1 MB

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Dr Jack Watkins

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