Colleges have until next Tuesday to tell the Further Education Funding Council how they will spend funds allocated for out-of-school childcare places.
The Government has made Pounds 5 million available to create at least 10,000 childcare places within FE. Students will have the first call on places created but college staff will also be able to benefit. The grant, at Pounds 450 per place, is a one-off pump-priming payment.
"FE colleges must demonstrate that the new places they plan to provide will be able to generate sufficient income to cover operating costs in the long term, thus being viable after the pump-priming ceases," according to departmental guidance.
The colleges have been encouraged to make flexible childcare arrangements; to meet parents' needs while they study or train, and to cover before and after-school clubs, holiday play schemes, or care at weekends or evenings.