Currently all three and four year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours of free childcare and early education a week for up to 38 weeks a year. Children can access this universal entitlement in school nursery classes, private day nurseries, pre-school playgroups and with childminders.
Will I be eligible for the extended 15 hour entitlement?
The new extended 15 hour entitlement from September 2017 will only be made available to families where:
- your child will be aged three or four when the scheme starts in September 2017
- you work and earn the equivalent of 16 hours at the national living wage or the national minimum wage
- you have an annual income of less than £100,000 if you are a sole parent family or less than £200,000 if you are a two parent family
- you live in England
Do I need to get confirmation of my eligibility?
Yes. Eligibility will be checked by HM Revenue & Customs via an online application. More details are available at https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/
When will my child be able to take up their extended 15 hour entitlement?
Your child will become eligible at the start of the school term after their third birthday and after you have confirmed your eligibility via the HMRC online application.
- Children born between 1 January - 31 March become eligible from 1 April.
- Children born between 1 April - 31 August become eligible from 1 September.
- Children born between 1 September - 31 December become eligible from 1 January.
Where can my child get their extended 15 hour entitlement?
We are currently working with schools, childminders, private day nurseries and pre-schools to establish which providers will be offering the extended entitlement. Please find a list of providers who are intending to offer here.
Please check this list regularly as more providers may decide to offer the extended entitlement. This entitlement may also become available in breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday playschemes.
Will I have to pay for anything?
Your child’s 15 hour or 30 hour place is free. However, providers can offer additional services which you may be charged for and this may include lunch. Parents/carers should be offered a choice of providing a packed lunch where the provider charges for lunch.
Providers must make parents fully aware of any additional charges that apply before a free place is taken up.
Parents/carers should be clearly invoiced so that they have a thorough understanding of:
- the free entitlement hours
- any additional hours or charges for services
Can I take my child’s extended 15 hour entitlement all year round i.e. during school holidays?
Yes, some providers may offer a ‘stretched entitlement’ which allows you to use fewer hours a week over more weeks. In addition, you may use more than one provider in order to be able to access the full 30 hours e.g. a school nursery class offering 15 hours and a childminder offering the remaining 15 hours.
If I have just moved to England and my child is not a British Citizen, will my child be eligible for the 30 hour entitlement?
Children moving to England from another country can access a place on the same basis as any other child in the Local Authority area, providing they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.
My child has a Special Educational Need or Disability
Childcare providers must offer support for children accessing their provision with a disability or identified special educational need. Once your child has enrolled in either a day nursery or pre-school, they may be able to access extra support through the Early Years SEN Team. In addition to this, from April 2017, further support will be made available to childcare providers to help support your child through the Disability Access Fund.