Childcare Funding

Extended free childcare entitlement (30 hours) for three and four-year-olds

Working families may be eligible for an additional 15 hours of free childcare a week for their three or four-year-old, most commonly known as ‘30 hours free childcare’. This equates to 1140 hours of free childcare a year (inclusive of the universal entitlement). Information on all the support that is available to help with your childcare cost is available at

To find out if you are eligible for the 30 hours entitlement, you will need to set up a childcare account and complete an online application form.

If eligible, you will receive an 11 digit eligibility code. This code will also have two sets of dates, (i) Validity dates, these identify the date you received the code and the date you need to reconfirm your eligibility by (ii) Grace period dates, this is the period that you can continue to receive 30 hours free childcare if, when you reconfirm, you are no longer eligible.

You should receive notifications from the childcare service by email and text message when your reconfirmation is due.

Please be advised that the online application form is managed by the childcare service and not the local authority, any queries relating to the application form or eligibility queries must be directed to the HMRC helpline 0300 123 4097


Important Information

You must apply for the 30 hours free childcare at least a term before (See dates below) you wish to take up the entitlement. You are also required to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. Failure to do so may result in you not being able to take up your entitlement. You are encouraged to apply at the earliest opportunity.

Term dates, set by the Department of Education are below:

Autumn term: 01 September - 31 December

Spring term: 01 January -31 March

Summer term 01 April - 31 August  

For example; if you want to take up a 30 hours place in the autumn term (September), you must apply for a eligibility code by 31 August at the latest.


Eligibility Criteria

You and your partner (if you have one) must each expect to earn at least £125 per week and earn less than£100,000 per year each.

If you or your partner are on maternity leave, paternity or adoption leave, or you are unable to work because you are disabled of heve caring responsibilities you may still be eligible.

To check your eligibility visit Childcarechoices

Your child can start their 30-hour free childcare place the term after they term 3 and the term after you receive the eligibility code.


How to access a 30-hour free childcare place

Once you have your eligibility code, you will need to take this to your chosen childcare provider to access a free childcare place.  The provider will ask you to complete a parent declaration form.

The entitlement can be used at any Ofsted registered childcare provider, that had agreed with the local authority to deliver the free entitlements, such as:

  • Childminder

  • Day Nursery

  • Preschools

  • Schools

A list of childcare providers in Sutton that offer free childcare places can be found on the Family Information Service Directory. Many providers have a waiting list, so you are advised to contact your chosen provider at the earliest opportunity.


Grace period

If your circumstances change whilst you are claiming the 30 hours, resulting in you no longer being eligible, the grace period applies. This means that you can continue to receive the 30 hours until the grace period ends.  Once the grace period has ended you will only be entitled to the universal 15 hours free entitlement. If you chose to purchase additional hours or service above and beyond the universal entitlement you will liable for any cost incurred.

Please note: children cannot start a 30-hour free childcare place whilst in the grace period.


Further Information

The free entitlement funding is paid to directly to the childcare provider. In order for them to claim the funding, they will ask to see your eligibility code and ask you to complete a parent declaration form.

The free childcare entitlement, funded by government is intended to cover the cost of childcare and education, it is not intended to cover the costs of meals, consumables or additional hours and services. Some providers may charge for these additions. If you choose to pay for these additional extras, this is an arrangement between you and the provider. Nevertheless, a provider cannot make these extras a condition of you accessing your free childcare entitlement. Please ensure you check what is available at your chosen provider prior to starting a free childcare place