Working families funded childcare - 30 hours

How does it work?

Some 3 and 4-year-olds in working families qualify for an extended funding option, providing an additional 570 hours. This results in a total of 1,140 hours, often referred to as 30 hours funding. The terms "30 hours" represent the maximum hours per week (30) over the school year (38 weeks). However, the funding offers complete flexibility, allowing you to access the 1,140 hours over any number of weeks between 38 and 52. You have the freedom to choose fewer hours over more weeks, including term time and/or school holidays.

Important to know

Children in working families become eligible 30 hours funding from the term following their third birthday. The term start dates are 1 September, 1 January, and 1 April. To qualify for the 30 hours funding, the following criteria must be met:

  • the child has reached 3 years old and;
  • the child's parent possesses a valid 30 hours eligibility code from HMRC*.

It's important to note that children remain eligible for the 15 hours until they start reception class in school. However, for the 30 hours funding, eligibility ends once the child becomes ineligible.

How to apply

To access the 30 hours extended funding, an application is required. Working parents and foster parents may be entitled to an additional 570 hours, bringing the total to 1,140 hours per year. To secure your child's funded place (30 hours), you'll need to complete a parent contract and provide a copy of your child's birth certificate. For those accessing the 30 hours, the childcare provider must be given the 30 hours code received during the application process.

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Maximizing flexibility and choice

You have the freedom to use your child's 15 or 30 hours with up to 3 childcare providers (with a maximum of 2 providers on the same day). This enables you to mix and match providers based on your preferences, ensuring the best fit for your family's needs.

When to apply for 30 hours

When your child turns 3 When to apply for 30 hours When your child can start using 30 hours
Between 1 January and 31 March Between 1 January and 31 March 1 April - start of summer term
Between 1 April and 31 August Between 1 April and 31 August 1 September - start of autumn term
Between 1 September and 31 December Between 1 September and 31 December 1 January - start of spring term

To apply for 3-year-old funding, start the process up to 16 weeks before your child's third birthday.

This allows sufficient time to secure your child's place with the chosen provider(s). To ensure your child begins their funded education during the desired term, please submit your application by the following dates:

  • 31 August for a September place
  • 31 December for a January place
  • 31 March for an April place

Apply online by checking your eligibility through Government Gateway. Upon approval, you will receive a code and will be required to set up a childcare account.

Eligibility code and reconfirmation

Your valid eligibility code must be provided to your childcare provider before your child can start using their funded hours. Failure to verify your code may result in losing your place or being invoiced for any hours already used. Remember to reconfirm your details and eligibility every 3 months to retain your funded hours for the following term.

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