Many students receive childcare support in voucher form, which parents can use to pay for various childcare services such as wraparound care clubs.
In Arbor, voucher payments are now categorised into their own payment type for easy reconciliation, separate to cash, cheque, bank transfer or card payments, allowing you to see and manage which students are paying by voucher.
- Extra Curricular: Administer - Manage Clubs and Trips, and mark students as eligible for paying by childcare voucher
- Finance: Administer - Manage payments for Clubs, Trips or other Customer Account Types
If you don't have the permission, you'll need to ask your admin team to give you permission using these instructions.
Switching over from your previous system
You may have previously managed payments via voucher by manually signing students up to the club, trip or wraparound care club. You may have logged the payment method as a Cheque, as schools rarely process these (making it easier to split out reporting on vouchers later), and added that it was a voucher in the Narrative recorded.
Schools who use the Parent Portal and Arbor App could get parents to sign up for a club without paying, to indicate they would like to pay via voucher. The school would then manually update this to say they paid via voucher.
Setting up voucher payments
Now, once your school receives the bank transfer from the company that provides these vouchers, you can top up your voucher account with the voucher balance, then use this balance to pay for the wraparound care club.
We recommend switching to the new feature during a break in the school year such as a half term or holiday, to give you time to set up the accounts and inform parents and guardians of the changes.
You don't need to do anything to end your previous setup, just follow the instructions below to start using the new feature moving forward. Please note that you'll need to reconcile payments from before the switch following these instructions.
You may have created a Customer Account Type to keep a running total of the balance left of the vouchers. If so, you don't need to make any changes to this account, as this can be used as the voucher payment account moving forward.
You may have previously used a Customer Account Type to keep a running total of the balance left of vouchers. Check whether you have an account set up by going to School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types.
- If you see a voucher account here, skip to the next step. You don't need to make any changes to this account, as this can be used as the voucher payment account moving forward.
- If you don't see a voucher account for students here, follow these instructions to create one: Setting up a new payment Customer Account Type. Make sure the account is created for Students.
Voucher payments can only be used with Wraparound Care Clubs. Check whether you have set up a Wraparound Care Club by going to School > Activities > Clubs.
- If you see a Wraparound Care Club here, skip to the next step. You don't need to set up a new club.
- If you're not already using Wraparound Care Clubs in Arbor, you can see how to set them up here: Wraparound care - Setting up a breakfast club or after-school club. Make sure the account selected is your voucher account.
In order to see the Top up by voucher option (shown in the topping up section below), you must link your voucher account to at least one Wraparound Care Club. We recommend linking it to both your breakfast and after school clubs.
Click into the club, and scroll down to the Accounting Details section. Make sure your voucher account is selected.
Go to the Club Participants page of your Wraparound Care Club. Here you'll see a column showing whether the payments for the club can be made using their voucher account balance. This allows you to keep track of who is paying by childcare voucher and who is paying by card (or cash/cheque) payment.
This will be set to to No for all students by default. To edit this and enable guardians to sign up their child using the voucher balance, tick the boxes next to the students and click the blue pencil icon to select Mark Eligible for Childcare Voucher Payments.
This will change the final column to show Yes, which impacts what happens if your school has Allow sign-up if not enough balance set to No, don't allow sign-up in your Membership Period club settings.
- For students where this column is set to Yes, guardians will still be able to sign their children up via the Parent Portal and Arbor App, even if they do not have enough balance. This is so they are still able to book if your school hasn't added the latest voucher top up (as shown in the example below).
- For students where this column is set to No, guardians will be asked to top up their account balance before they are able to book onto the club if they do not have enough balance.
Topping up the voucher account
You can top up accounts using a voucher from the student's profile. Scroll down to the bottom left and select Payments > Account name and go to either the Account Overview, Account Details or Top-Ups pages.
Please note that there is no way to top up accounts using vouchers in bulk like you can for cash, cheque and bank transfer, shown here.
Click the Top up by voucher button. If you don't see this button, make sure you've followed the setup instructions in the section above.
In the slide over, add the amount and further details as needed.
You can then see the balance has updated, and the payment method of the top up as Childcare Voucher.
Refunding a top up
Voucher top ups can't be refunded from the Refunds page on student profiles. They instead need to be cancelled from the Account Overview or Top-Ups pages on the student profile. Click on the top up, then click Edit.
Click Cancel prepayment. This will remove the payment amount from the voucher account's balance.
Please note that you'll need to reconcile payments from before the switch following these instructions.
Alongside Cash, Cheque, Bank Transfer and Card, our built-in payment reconciliation reports in School > Payments also have a section for Childcare Voucher. Please note that you can't click these top-ups for more information.
- In Reconciliation > Money Received, you can see a new tab for Childcare Voucher which shows all non-cancelled childcare voucher top ups. You can also view these on the All tab.
- In Reconciliation > Consolidated Report, you can see a full list, including childcare voucher top-ups.
- In Accounts > Top-Ups, you can see a new tab for Childcare which shows all voucher top ups. non-cancelled childcare voucher top ups.
Using the voucher account to make payments for Wraparound Care
The process for signing students up to Wraparound Care sessions is the same whether they use their voucher balance or not.
- School staff - You can see how to sign students up here: Manually signing students up to a breakfast or after-school club
- Guardians through Parent Portal or the Arbor App - You can see how guardians can sign up their child through the Parent Portal or Arbor App here: Signing my child up for a Breakfast or After-School Club on the Parent Portal or Arbor App
Please note that if your school has Allow sign-up if not enough balance set to No, don't allow sign-up in your Membership Period club settings, this will determine whether guardians can sign up.
- For students where voucher payments are set to Yes, guardians will still be able to sign their children up via the Parent Portal and Arbor App, even if they do not have enough balance. This is so they are still able to book if your school hasn't added the latest voucher top up (as shown in the example below).
- For students where voucher payments are set to No, guardians will be asked to top up their account balance before they are able to book onto the club if they do not have enough balance.
Childcare vouchers have to be spent on childcare activities, outside of core school hours (e.g. breakfast and after school clubs). Because of this, voucher top ups can only be used to pay for Wraparound Care Clubs.
If your school uses vouchers for childcare payments in another way (for example, you use the Customer Account Type to keep track of balances, but manage bookings in a system external to Arbor), you won't be able to use this feature.
You'll need to either move to using Arbor for Wraparound Care, or continue to use your current process. Do not set up a 'dummy' Wraparound Care Club.
There is no way to top up or cancel vouchers in bulk like you can for cash, cheque and bank transfer, shown here. You'll need to follow the instructions above to do this for individual students on their student profiles.
You need to choose whether students will pay with their voucher balance, or will need to top up for each Wraparound Care Club. Can Pay With Voucher? is set by default to No.
If students can pay with their voucher balance, you'll need to change this for each Wraparound Care Club. There is no bulk setting, as by setting this flag per student per club, it means your school has agreed with the parent to use their childcare vouchers for paying for that specific service only.
First, check you have the Finance: Administer permission - you'll need this to make top ups. If you don't have the permission, you'll need to ask your admin team to give you permission using these instructions.
If you have this permission, check that at least one Wraparound Care club has been linked to the voucher account, as the Top up by voucher button won't appear until it has.
If you have enabled the voucher account to be visible on the Parent Portal and Arbor App, guardians can see a log of top-ups. These can only be viewed from the Top-Ups page.