When will it start from?
In Northamptonshire it will start from September 2017. Some areas of the country will be starting earlier to test out systems and ways of delivering it.
Who will get it?
All children can receive 15 funded hours but not all children will be eligible for 30. Children who receive 2 year old funding or qualify for the Pupil Premium will not necessarily be eligible. This offer is about supporting working parents.
Who will be eligible?
Both parents (one in a lone parent family) will need to be working and earning the equivalent of 16 hours a week on National Minimum Wage including those receiving tax credits or Universal Credit. Eligibility will be retained if one parent is temporarily away from work for instance on maternity leave or off sick. Families should also be eligible if one parent is working and the other has substantial caring responsibilities or a disability.
How can parents find out if they qualify?
Once the system is operational there will be a simple online checker. It is likely parents will have to reconfirm on a regular basis but there should be some grace period if they leave their job so that there can be some continuity for the child.
What happens if childcare providers cannot offer the 30 hours?
Childcare providers should be starting to think about likely demand in their area and whether they will need to increase their opening hours or develop new places in order to deliver the offer. There may be some capital funding to support this. Where providers cannot expand we will be looking at ways of working in partnership so that children can receive their full entitlement using a combination of different providers.
I work all year so need childcare in the school holiday as well as term time.
Some providers are already open and offering funded places all year round. More may be considering this option so parents can seek out a provider who meets their needs. If the funded offer is spread across 50 weeks instead of the traditional 38, then it would equate to 22.8 hours per week.
My working hours vary or are outside the traditional 9 to 5. Will I still be able to use the 30 hours offer?
The Government is encouraging childcare providers to explore ways in which they can offer more flexibility to meet local need. This will be easier for some providers than others so parents may need to ‘shop around’ to find the best way to meet their family’s needs.
My child has special needs. Will a childcare provider be able to cope with them for the extra hours?
All families should have access to high quality, flexible childcare. The Government review and local review will explore ways to ensure providers are supported to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
How will childcare providers get paid for delivering the offer?
It is expected that it will be part of the same process by which they are currently paid for other funded childcare. However we have recognised the need to change and improve this process to make it work better for everyone and will be working on this over the next year.
As a provider, how can I tell what demand is likely to be in 2017?
We recommend you consider your current cohort and how many might have been eligible if the entitlement were available now. This kind of information, whilst not very scientific, can be combined with knowledge of new housing developments and changes in employment opportunities to give you a feel for how things might be in 2017.
The extended offer will mean extra staffing costs for childcare providers. How will these be met?
The Government have committed to making more money available with an estimated increase of 30p in the average hourly rate. We are awaiting further consultation on new guidelines regarding the funding formula before we can agree the rates in Northamptonshire.
How can I find out more?
Further information, as it becomes available, will be shared through the Northamptonshire Early Years Bulletin. The following websites may also be useful in providing more detail:
What happens next?
A group of provider representatives has already been established to look at how the 30 hours offer will work and consider the support that providers will need if they are to make changes to their current delivery. If you would like to get involved with this please contact
We are particularly looking for representation from large chain providers and from the Kettering area, although all offers will be welcomed.
The DfE is currently consulting on detail of how the scheme will work. Please give them your views by accessing the consultation papers at:
They are also interested in hearing from providers about what burdens exist in the current system and what can be done to limit unnecessary regulations and requirements. Please go to Cutting red tape to find out how to give your views.