Free 30 hours for three and four year olds
Please note: all eligible families will need to have received their eligibility code prior to the start of term in order to claim their funding. Please remember to reconfirm your code every 3 months.
For more information on how to apply for your code please read the information on this page then visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.
From September 2017 the government will increase the free entitlement to 30 hours per week for eligible working families. The new entitlement is intended to support working parents with the cost of childcare and enable them, where they wish, to return to work or work additional hours.
The additional 15 hours will be available to families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or national living wage and less than £100,000 per year.
Working will include employed and self-employed persons. 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. This includes those parents on zero contract hours who meet the criteria.
Families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works) will usually not be eligible for these additional hours. However, you may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.
How will I know if I am entitled?
You can now check your eligibility online using the HMRC checker at Childcare Choices. The HMRC checker will provide you with an 11 digit code which can then be taken to your chosen childcare provider and used to confirm your eligibility. You can access the current list of providers offering the free entitlement funding by downloading the Directory of Early Years Providers. The provider will ask you to complete a Parent Declaration From and will then validate your code.
When you receive your 11 digit code you will also be given the validation dates and a 'grace period'. Parents are required to reconfirm their eligibility every three months to ensure you are still entitled to funding. You should receive a reminder by email and/or text for your childcare services account on when your reconfirmation is due.
If you become no longer eligible the 'grace period' applies. This means that you can still receive the free entitlement funding during this time. After the grace period if you choose to continue accessing the childcare you will be liable for any costs.
The Childcare Choices website also provides information on the different ways parents can access support with childcare costs including the new Tax Free Childcare Scheme.
Frequently Asked Questions
For more information please contact the Sutton Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000.