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30 Hours free Childcare

1. Help with Childcare Costs 2. 30 Hours Free Childcare

2. 30 Hours Free Childcare

The government has commited to double the current entitlement of free childcare from 15 hours to 30 hours for children who are eligable.  This is to support working parents with the costs of childcare who wish to work, or to work more hours.  If you are eligible, you will be able to get 30 hours free childcare per week during term time over 38 weeks of the year; some providers may let you "stretch" this, allowing you to use fewer hours per week but stretches over 52 weeks per year. 

Parents of 3 and 4 year olds will need to meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare:

  • Both Parents (or sole parent in lone parent family) earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage and earn less then £100,000 per year;
  • Both parents are employed but one or both are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave;
  • One parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work;
  • Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months;
  • If a non-EEA national, the parent must have recourse to public funds

To apply, families can complete the online form here:


What happens after applying for 30 hours free childcare?

If you are eligible for the extra hours, you will then get a childcare account where you will get an eligibilty code which you will need to give to your chosen childcare provider to reserve your place.  You will be able to acces the extra hours once the next term starts. 

You can choose to access your free hours between no more than two early years providers on the local authority’s directory.  You would need to agree attendance patterns with both early years providers and ensure you only claim a maximum of 30 hours per week in total.  Only Ofsted registered childcare providers can recieve the funding; unregistered childcare will not recieve the free early years funding. 

Parents will be required to reconfirm their child's eligibility every 3 months – they will be sent a reminder notice by HMRC when this is due. 

If the parent loses their eligibility for 30 hours, they will receive a ‘grace period’ – this means you will be able to keep your childcare for a short period.  Once the ‘grace period’ has lapsed, the parent will still be entitled to access their child's universal 15 hours entitlement but not the extra 15 hours. 

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