Community & Support News

Wraparound childcare for Service Families to be rolled out across the UK

The Wraparound childcare (WAC) scheme will be rolled out across the UK from Autumn 2022. WAC was a manifesto commitment and is one of many steps that the Ministry of Defence is taking to make the Armed Forces a more modern, inclusive, and family friendly employer.

The Full UK Rollout (FRO) comes after successful pilots of the WAC scheme at RAF High Wycombe, RAF Halton, Plymouth area, Catterick Garrison, Lincolnshire and Woolwich, where over 1,800 children have already benefited from the scheme.

Lieutenant General James Swift, Chief of Defence People, said:

“The Wraparound Childcare (WAC) scheme is a cornerstone of Defence’s new Family Strategy, which aims to strengthen the support available to Service families. It will provide Service personnel and their partners with more choice in the type of work they are able to take up as well as the hours they are able to do that work. WAC will provide stability, consistency, and routine for children, which is particularly valued in Service families where disruption is part of our way of life.

“Feedback from the WAC pilots has been extremely positive. The scheme is helping Service children form new friendships and settle into new schools and locations more easily. This is a great initiative which will help our people enormously with the challenge of balancing their professional and family lives.” 

Air Commodore Alan Opie, Assistant Chief of Staff Personnel Delivery Air Command said: 

“I am delighted that the opportunity to benefit from the WAC scheme will be extended to all RAF personnel. The large take up of the pilot schemes at RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton and in Lincolnshire clearly demonstrated the importance of wraparound childcare support to RAF Families. We are committed to building a Next Generation Air Force that reflects the society that we serve - a modern, inclusive employer that attracts and retains a talented and diverse workforce. Balancing Service and family commitments is challenging, particularly for working parents. This important measure will support our people and their partners to raise their families while fulfilling successful and rewarding careers.” 

From the start of the 2022 Autumn term, WAC funding will be available to all eligible Service families with children aged 4 to 11 years, who are in school or being home schooled in the UK. If eligible, Personnel can claim up to 20 hours per week of funding for each child that is attending before and after school care during term time. WAC is known as ‘Out of School care’ in Wales and ‘School Aged Childcare’ in Scotland.

The WAC scheme aims to provide current and future Service parents with better flexibility and childcare support, mitigating some but not all of the difficulties that can sometimes be caused by mobility and deployment when trying to find appropriate childcare. The WAC scheme shows that while personnel continue to do extraordinary work on behalf of the country, Defence is committed to ensure that they receive the right support to care for their family.

Important steps Service families can take now

Every child that personnel want to claim WAC funding for must be recorded on JPA and must have a Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) account. 

If your child(ren) is not recorded on JPA and/or you do not have a TFC account, Service families should take the following steps now: 

  • RECORD your child(ren) on JPA.
  • READ information about TFC accounts by visiting Tax-Free Childcare on GOV.UK. 
  • CHECK if your family will financially benefit from having a TFC account or a salary sacrifice childcare voucher scheme, including the Armed Forces Childcare Voucher Scheme (AFCVS (Sodexo vouchers)). You cannot have both at the same time. To make an informed decision about which scheme suits your family best, use the childcare calculator on GOV.UK. Please be aware, if you choose to leave the AFCVS, you cannot re-join it.
  • APPLY: If you choose to claim WAC funding, you can create a TFC account for your child(ren) on GOV.UK.

More announcements, resources and information sessions will be shared to help Service families check if their family is eligible and provide information on how to sign up for the WAC scheme.