30 hours funded childcare

From September 2017 funded childcare is doubling from 15 to 30 hours a week (for 38 weeks each year) for working parents of three and four year olds. The additional hours will enable families to work, support parents who wish to work or allow parents to work more hours.

What is 30 hours funded childcare?

All three and four year olds will still get the universal 15 hours free early education a week for up to 38 weeks a year. From September, the additional 15 hours will be for families who meet the eligibility criteria

How can I apply for 30 hours funded childcare?

Parents must create a government gateway account and apply at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

Please allow 20 minutes to verify identity. Most parents will get an instant decision but it can take up to two weeks to verify your details. You can also register for tax-free childcare but please check the childcare calculator as it may affect tax credits or childcare vouchers.

If you want to receive updates you can sign up to join our mailing list.

Where can I use the 30 hours funded childcare?

Parents will be able to access the funding through early years providers – childminders, preschools, day nurseries, out of school providers and school run early years provision. We will encourage all our childcare providers to offer the additional hours but it is their business decision if and when they offer these hours.

Some providers may not have availability to offer any additional time. You can spilt the hours with two registered childcare providers.

What do I need to do now?

Discuss with your childcare provider what they are going to offer. 

When will my child get this additional 15 hours?

As with the universal 15 hours free early education it is the term after your child turns three. 

Will I have to pay?

If you take more than 30 hours per week (or the equivalent of 1140 hours per year), there will be a charge from the provider for the additional hours. Please check with your provider for details of these and any other additional charges such as for meals, snacks or additional services.

Do I get the money into my bank account?

No, it is paid to the early years providers based on the hours your child attends.

What if I don’t want to use the 30 hours?

You do not have to use this additional time. You might find you want to use some of the hours or your provider may spread them throughout the year.

Can I choose when to use the 30 hours?

No, the provider will decide when they offer the 30 hours as they can with the universal 15 hours. We will be working with providers to encourage them to offer the 30 hours and to work in partnership with other providers to share the hours to give parents the flexibility.

What if my circumstances change?

Parents will need to confirm online with HMRC they are still meeting the eligibility criteria. If you are no longer eligible the government are looking at ways to make the process fair for the child and the provider. This is called a grace period. If you are still not eligible after this time you will be entitled to the 15 hours free early education.

There is also tax-free childcare,  which allows parents to save on childcare costs for children 0 to 12 years old.