30 hours of childcare
All children aged 3 or 4 years old are eligible for 15 hours of free early education for 38 weeks of the year. Children are eligible from the term after their 3rd birthday. The government has extended this offer to 30 hours a week for parents earing the equivalent of the National Minimum wage or National Living wage for 16 hours a week.
About the Extended Free Entitlement
The new entitlement is 1,140 hours per year (which you can choose when you take it) of early education for children whose parents are working.
The additional hours will be available to children in families where:
- both parents or sole parent family in a lone parent family are working and earning on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours per week on the National Living wage or the National Minimum wage.
- each parent must have an income of less than £100,000 per year.
- it is a single parent household and they meet the income rules.
Working will include employed and self-employed persons.
Parents will not need to 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. Parents on zero-hour contracts and/or self-employed who meet the required 16 hours per week on the National Living wage or National Minimum wage are included in the entitlement criteria.
There are some exceptions from two parent rules and children will also be entitled if:
- both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity or paternity leave
- both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on adoption leave
- both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay.
- one parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring; or
- one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.
The three and four year olds whose parents do not meet the criteria will continue to be entitled to the universal offer of 570 hours per annum or 15 hours over 38 weeks.
Parents will need to apply for the extended 15 hours offer via www.gov.uk and they will receive a code which they will need to take to their chosen childcare provider. Not all childcare providers may be able to offer the full 30 hours.
Parents can find out what help they can get with childcare via Childcare Choices website
For 2, 3 and 4 year old funding the child can only receive a funded place from the start of the term after their birthday (subject to their birthday being before the funding period date). Funding periods start on 1 January, 1 April and 1 September each year.
Do providers have to offer the extended hours?
No, some providers will not be able to deliver the offer, perhaps due to restrictions on their premises. Others may choose to remain as sessional (term time only) care.
Individual providers do not have to offer the full day and can select their opening hours to meet local needs. They may wish to work in partnership with other providers to make a full day.
What can I do now to make sure my child gets a place?
You should contact individual providers to find out more about them and arrange visits. You will need to find out how to apply for a place with each individual provider.
Parents can now apply for the 30 hours childcare via https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
Search for childcare providers offering 30 hours via North Somerset on-line directory