30 Hours Free Childcare FAQs
So what is the free childcare deal?
In a nutshell, many working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds in England will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare - rather than the current 15 hours. The 30 hours free offer is for 38 weeks per year, equivalent to school term times, and totals 1140 free hours across the year. It will be available at the participating childcare options.
Will my child get it?
Not necessarily, not all families are eligible.
Eligibility rules for 30 hours free childcare:
- Your child will be aged 3 or 4 when the scheme starts in your area
Both parents must be working - or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family
Each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage
Each parent must have an annual income of less than £100,000
You live in England
When will it start and how long will in run for?
The scheme begun nationwide in September 2017. There is currently no end date.
How do I apply for the 30 hours free childcare?
You can register for the 30-hour scheme on the Gov.UK website. You will be asked to confirm the following information-
you live in England
your email address
your child's date of birth
You can also find out more on a new Childcare Choices website set up by HMRC. This also gives information about the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme and includes a childcare calculator so you can compare your different options.
To be eligible, I need to earn the equivalent of 16 hours at National Minimum Wage. How much is that?
It depends on your age. For this scheme, the minimum amount will always reflect the lowest hourly rate that a person of your age can legally be paid. Therefore, currently for a parent aged 21-24, you will need to earn a weekly average of at least £111.20. For a parent aged 25+, you'd need to earn a weekly average of at least £115.20.
What if one parent in a couple isn't working?
The scheme is aimed at working parents, so families where only one parent is currently employed will not meet the eligibility criteria.
What if you are self-employed or on a zero hours contract?
You will be eligible if you earn at least the equivalent of 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage.
What if one parent loses their job?
There will be a short "grace period" allowing parents to have a chance to find new employment.
For more information on the 30 hours free childcare visit the school office or speak to Nursery staff.
To get 30 hours free childcare, you'll need to do the following:
Apply online through the childcare service.
If you're eligible, you'll receive a code
Take your code to your childcare provider or local council (if it's council-provided childcare), along with your National Insurance number and your child’s date of birth
Your childcare provider or council will check the code is authentic and allocate your child a free childcare place