In September 2017, Bearnes Pre-School will be offering the full 30 hours funding to all eligible parents.

Further information is outlined below

What is the free childcare deal?

Many working parents of 3 to 4-year-olds in England will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare – rather than the current 15 hours. But the first thing you need to know is that this is 30 hours free for only 38 weeks per year – not 52 weeks of the year. It’s basically equivalent to school term times – and totals 1140 free hours across the year. In theory, you may be able to spread the free childcare out over further weeks, but this will mean you’ll get fewer than 30 hours free childcare each week. It will be available at the following participating childcare options:

  • Nurseries and nursery classes
  • Playgroups and pre-school
  • Childminders
  • Sure Start Children’s Centres

Will my child get it?

Not necessarily, as not everyone is eligible. But everyone will still receive the 15 hours free childcare that is currently available.

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 (see how much this isbelow)
  • Each parent must have an annual income of less than £100,000
  • You live in England

When will it start?

The scheme is scheduled to roll out nationwide in September 2017. The Government has already been running pilot schemes in 8 English areas: Wigan, Staffordshire, Swindon, Portsmouth, Northumberland, York, Newham and Hertfordshire. A further 4 pilots will run from April in Dorset, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire and Tower Hamlets.

How do you apply for the 30 hours free childcare?

You can now pre-register for the 30-hour scheme on the Gov.UK website. You’ll need to confirm you live in England and will be asked to provide your email address and your child’s date of birth. You’ll then be emailed with information about when the scheme will be available and how to apply.

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 – this will allow you to arrange your childcare place ahead of September 2017
  • 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

To be eligible, I’ve got 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’d 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?

This is basically a scheme to help working parents, so families where one parent doesn’t work, or both parents don’t work, will usually not be eligible for these additional 15 hours. However, if one parent isn’t working because they’re an official carer (eg receiving benefits relating to being a carer) or they are receiving disability benefits, and the other parent is working, then the Government has stated it “intends to make provision” to support these families. There is also additional entitlement if the parent normally works but is temporarily away from the workplace, for example on statutory sick pay.

What if you are self-employed or on a zero hours contract?

You will be eligible if you (or both of you in a couple) 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” – although this hasn’t yet been defined – allowing parents to have a chance to find new employment. 

You probably know everything about the current childcare entitlement but just in case… Currently, 3 and 4-year-old children are eligible for 570 hours of free childcare a year – which is usually broken down to 15 hours each week over 38 weeks of the year . This covers:

  • Nurseries and nursery classes
  • Playgroups and pre-school
  • Childminders
  • Sure Start Children’s Centres

Are lone parents in full time education eligible for the 30 hours of free childcare? 

Parents in full time education could be eligible for 30 hours free childcare. The income criteria are that each parent or the sole parent in a single parent household need to expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours a week at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming 3 months. If a parent works on top of their studies and meets the income criteria they could be eligible. However, parents cannot take up the 30 hours in addition to accessing support through a Childcare Grant.

My daughter will be 4 in July and she will be attending reception at school but also a private childcare after school. Can I use some of the 30hrs towards my private childcare bill or do the school take the 30hrs as they take all of the 15hrs currently?

Children who are in reception are receiving their entitlement through the school. Therefore, they cannot receive 30 hours on top of the child’s reception place such as a private childcare before or after school.

Will my 3-year-old get the 30 hours free if I am on maternity leave when it starts? Though I do usually work 16 hours.

If you are on maternity leave, you should still be eligible for 30 hours free childcare however, it is for HMRC to determine eligibility.

What if one parent works full time and one parent is completing a full-time university degree with only a little help from student finance?

Parents in full-time education could be eligible for 30 hours free childcare. The income criteria are that each parent or the sole parent in a single parent household need to expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours a week at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming 3 months. If a parent works on top of their studies and meets the income criteria they could be eligible. However, parents cannot take up the 30 hours in addition to accessing support through a Childcare Grant.

(Extract adapted from Made for Mums)

Further information can be found at

https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/moreinfopar/1/?returnURL=%2F

https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator

https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/