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FIS Newsletter - February Half Term 2024

FIS Newsletter - February Half Term 2024

Welcome to our newsletter for February Half Term 2024, combining MyFIS and MyFIS+ which we hope you'll find interesting and helpful.

In this edition we’ve got lots of interesting news about:

Don’t forget that if you would like more information about anything in this newsletter or anything to do with family life, then get in touch with the York Family Information Service, telehopne: 01904 554444, or by emailing: [email protected].

FIS Newsletter

Recent newsletters

Read our other Family Information Service (FIS) newsletters covering useful information on family life, and being a parent or carer in York.

What’s On in February Half Term

There’s lots of events and activities taking place this February Half Term, and throughout the spring, for families, children and young people in York.

Here’s some examples:

  • Jorvik Viking Festival, taking place between Monday 12 February and Sunday 18 February
  • theatre performances across York Theatre Royal, Grand Opera House and Joseph Rowntree Theatre
  • a free pantomime at the Church of Latter Day Saints (tickets must be booked in advanced for this event)
  • and more… see seasonal events for details.

Family Hubs drop-in and information sessions

Our popular family hub drop-ins are well underway since we started our Family Hub pilot in summer 2023. You can expect a free cup of tea or coffee, free activities and toys, a space to meet other parents orcarers and our Family Navigators and Information Officers will be on hand to answer any questions or queries you might have. Our drop in runs all year around.

We’re an ask anything service, so no matter what your questions, just ask and we will try and help you! You don’t even need to bring your child with you to come and have a chat with us. Types of enquiries we have received from families include: help finding childcare, queries about reducing the cost of childcare, activities, groups, and classes including free and low cost, special educational needs, jobs, education and more...

View our Family Hubs February timetable

New help towards your childcare costs

Childcare choices that fits with your family

From April 2024 working families with a 2 year old child can apply for 15 hours of help towards childcare.

  • Working families mean if you or your partner expect to earn (on average) at least £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage).
  • You or your partner are not eligible if you individually expect to earn £100,000 adjusted net income or more.
  • You can apply for the 15 hours of childcare for working families of 2-year-olds on the Childcare Choices website and eligible families can start to use the hours from the term after their child turns 2 year olds.

To keep your 15 hours childcare place for 2-year-olds you need to check your details are up to date every 3 months.

Existing 15 hours for 2 year-olds, for families receiving some additional forms of government support:

  • The existing 15 hours towards childcare for 2 year-olds is separate to the new offer, but, the two offers for 2-year-olds cannot be used together to create more funded hours, it is 15 hours with one or the other.
  • Families continue to be eligible based on 1 of a number of criteria, such as: household income, certain benefits, certain criteria if their child has a disability or additional need, children who are adopted or looked after in care or families with no recourse to public funds.

See information for parents about funded childcare for 2 year olds if you're receiving additional government support, or to apply!

Other new offers include:

  • From Sept 2024 - Up to 15 hours for eligible working families in England with a child between 9 and 23 months old.
  • From Sept 2025 - Up to 30 hours for eligible working families in England with a child from 9 months old up to school age.

Existing help towards childcare costs:

  • All families are eligible for 15 hours childcare for 3 and 4 year-olds.
  • 30 Hours childcare for working families with 3 and 4 year-olds.
  • Tax Free Childcare for working families with children aged 0 to 11, or up to 16 years if the child has a disability or additional need. Get up to £2000 per child (or up to £4000 per child with a disability).
  • Tax Credit for Childcare for working families with children under 16 or under 17 if disabled.
  • Universal Credit for working families claiming Universal Credit for children under 17 and who are not receiving Tax Free Childcare.
  • Support while you study through Care to Learn if you are at school or sixth form college.

You can use Tax Free Childcare with the 15 or 30 hours funding. However, you cannot get tax free childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.

For further information about all these childcare offers visit Childcare Choices.

For a list of Ofsted registered childcare contact us on telephone: 01904 554444, or email: [email protected].

Healthy Start Scheme

Healthy start

Don’t miss out on your free Healthy Start Scheme.

Healthy Start can help you to buy milk, fruit and vegetables and infant formula. If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. You can also get free vitamins!

If you are pregnant or have children under the age of 4 years, you could qualify if you're on benefits or under 18 and pregnant.

To find out more information about the scheme, including how to apply, visit Healthy Start Scheme or telephone: 0300 330 7010.

Childhood illnesses and vaccines

With coughs, colds and bugs doing the rounds it can be hard to know when and when not to send your child to their childcare setting or school. Almost all babies, toddlers, children, and young people will get common childhood illnesses like chickenpox, colds, sore throats, and earache. Some of these are easily treated at home with advice from a community pharmacist, a GP, or Health Visitor rather than taking a trip straight to the surgery or A&E.

The NHS guide is my child too ill for school, is available online to help parents and carers decide when to send their child to their early years childcare place or school and when they should keep them at home.

You can also find clear information on common childhood illnesses, including advice on what 'red-flag' signs to look out for, where to seek help if required and how long your child's symptoms are likely to last on the Healthier Together website.

It's important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection, but if you or your child missed a vaccine, contact your GP to catch up. The NHS website lists NHS vaccinations and when to have them.

New services added to our directory

Did you know you can search for childcare, activities, and things to do and support services aimed specifically for families, children, and young people on our online directory?

Here’s a sample of activities and services we have recently added:

  • Yorkshire Family Mediation Service, offers online and in person family mediation.
  • Bolshee Young Creatives, a weekly space for creative young people to come together and make cool things happen in York. Suitable for 8 to 14 year olds.
  • Cheerleading and Tumbling, aimed at children with ASC and other learning or physical difficulties and disabilities. Suitable for 4 to 17 year-olds.

Visit our online childcare and services directory or contact us for a tailored list of information telephone: 01904 554444, or email: [email protected].

Max Card new local venue added

Max card

Max Cards are now being accepted at Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery at the National Railway Museum in York. Families can receive 50% off tickets (including annual passes) on groups of up to 4. See more information on the max card website.

Max Cards are issued to families who have children aged 0 to 25 years with disabilities or additional needs. Discounts and offers vary per attraction.

Educational Psychology Support Line

Have a question or concern about your child’s wellbeing or learning? The Educational Psychology Support Line is available during term time providing a confidential telephone service staffed by Educational Psychologists.

Open to all parents/carers of children with additional needs or SEND living in the City of York or attend an educational setting in York (who have not had recent Educational Psychology involvement).

Calls of up to 30 minutes are available on Wednesday mornings 9.30am to 11.30am. To book a slot email: [email protected] with your name and contact telephone number. You will be contacted the following Tuesday with a time slot. Bookings closed each week at 5.00pm.

Children with disabilities or additional needs

York SEND Local Offer

Have you discovered the York SEND Local Offer? The Local Offer website provides information about the available support for parent carers, professionals as well as children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in York. The website outlines the support available in York both pre and post diagnosis, meaning there is information available to families at all ages and stages.

Parents and carers can access the Learning Support Hub Universal Offer, which outlines all training and advice available to families and professionals each term. Examples include telephone lines for families of children with dyslexia, training for families on children with Autism, early years groups, and advice lines for both families and professionals.

Don't keep us a secret!

Don't forget to tell your friends and family about York Family Information Service! If you use Twitter or Facebook you can follow York Family Information Service online:

Register with the Information Service

Is your child under 3? By registering with our Information Service you'll receive tailored information (on an adhoc basis) about:

  • groups and activities
  • 2 year-old funding
  • opportunities to take part in research specific to the age of your child

Register with the Information Service.

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