Free 30 hours of childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

From September 2017 families of 3 and 4 year olds may now be able to claim up to 30 hours a week of free childcare if they are both working.

All families can currently claim up to 15 hours a week of free childcare for 3 and 4 year old children. The purpose of the increased childcare is to support working parents with childcare costs.

The additional 15 hours can be claimed if:

  • Both parents or carers are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family). This can include if the parent or career is on statutory sick leave, maternity, paternity leave or claiming certain benefits.
  • Each parent has a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or living wage; (parents do not necessarily need to actually work 16 hours a week, but rather their earnings must reflect at least 16 hours of work at national minimum wage or national living wage, which is £107 a week at the current national minimum wage rate)
  • Neither parent has an income of more than £100,000 per year.
  • Both parents or carers live in England
  • If unemployed, both parents must become employed within 14 days of applying unless one of the above applies

Once your child is attending school (including reception year), they are no longer eligible for the universal free entitlement or the 30 hours extended entitlement.

How do I apply for the 30 hours of free childcare?

You can find out if you are eligible to claim the free 30 hours and apply via the Gov.UK site below.

Find out if you qualify

When can I claim the free 30 hours of childcare?

If you qualify, you will be able to claim this childcare on the funding block;after your child's 3rd birthday.

If your child is 3 or 4 years old on 31 December 2017, you can start to claim this immediately.

Where can my child take up their childcare?

You can access the free entitlement at most OFSTED registered childcare providers. These include:

  • Private day nurseries
  • Pre-school playgroups
  • Maintained nurseries (nurseries attached to a school) 
  • Childminders and childminder agencies
  • Independent schools

Details of all childcare providers can be found on the Children and families service finder.

Search for a childcare provider

Please check that the provider does offer the free 30 hours before taking up the place.

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