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30 Hours Free Childcare

From September 2017 there will be an additional 15 hours of free early education and childcare available for working parents.

Please note the following information:

  • All 3 and 4 year olds already get 15 hours of free childcare, 38 weeks of the year during school term times, (or fewer hours over more weeks).
  • Some 2 year olds are also eligible for 15 hours of free childcare. For more information you can email:
  • From 1 September 2017, the government will increase free childcare to 30 hours a week for eligible working parents of children aged 3 and 4, who have not yet started their reception year at school.
  • The 30 hours free childcare can be taken over 38 weeks a year, but it is also possible to stretch these hours over more weeks of the year with some childcare providers.

Who is Eligible for 30 Hours Free Childcare?

  • Children must be 3 or 4 years old by 31 August 2017 to be eligible from 1 September 2017
  • To apply, you (and your partner if you have one) must work at least 16 hours a week at the National Living or Minimum Wage, or earn a minimum of £120.00 per week by working less hours at a higher rate.
  • This offer is also available if you are self-employed.
  • You can still apply for 30 hours free childcare if you or your partner are taking paid time off work, such as maternity leave, paternity leave or sick leave.

What if you can't work?

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.

You are not eligible if:

  • your child doesn’t usually live with you
  • the child is your foster child
  • either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000

Types of Childcare You Can Use

This entitlement can only be used with registered childcare providers.

This includes:

  • childminders
  • pre-schools, play groups and nurseries
  • out-of-school clubs
  • It also includes early education and childcare provisions run by schools.
  • It is possible to use funding at more than one childcare provider, for example;
  • nursery/preschool and a childminder
  • nursery and a pre-school
  • pre-school and an after-school club

Finding a Childcare Provider

If you already use the current 15 hours of free childcare available to all 3 and 4 year olds, ask your childcare provider if they are able to offer up to 30 hours. Some providers may not be able to offer more hours, for example due to places available or their opening times.
If this is the case, or if you are not using childcare yet, you can email: for a list of childcare providers in your chosen area.

How Do I Apply for 30 Hours Free Childcare Funding?

Apply online via the Childcare Choices website.

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