Support towards paying for early education and childcare

Financial support is available to parents towards the cost of childcare through a variety of government support schemes

Funded early education and childcare hours

These support parents to reduce their childcare costs by the number of funded hours per week their child is eligible for.

The number of hours you're entitled to depends on the age of your child and your family circumstances:

for 3 to 4 year olds, 15 hours for all and 30 hours for working families. for 2 year olds, 15 hours for terrific twos previously, working families are entitled to 15 hours from April 2024 and 30 hours for working families from September 2025; 9 to 23 month olds from working families entitled to 15 hours from September 2024 and 30 hours from September 2025

Tax Free Childcare - up to £2000 per child

If you're eligible, this covers up to 20% of your childcare costs

  • For working families, including the self-employed, in the UK
  • Earning under £100k and an average of £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage) each over three months
  • Who aren't receiving Tax Credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers
  • With children aged 0-11 (or 0-16 if disabled)
  • For every £8 you pay into an online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year

To apply for tax free childcare, visit the application page

Universal Credit for childcare

Supports up to 85% of childcare costs:

  • For working families claiming Universal Credit, in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • With children under 17*
  • Up to 85% of eligible childcare costs
  • Who aren't receiving Tax-Free Childcare

* The childcare cost element in Universal Credit is paid up to the end of August following the child's 16th birthday.

To find out more and apply, visit the universal credit for childcare page

Support while you study

  • Weekly payments from Care to Learn if you’re at school or sixth-form college
  • Help through your college if you’re in further education
  • A weekly grant if you’re in full-time higher education

To find out more and apply, visit care to learn page

Using the schemes together

Some of these schemes can be used with others:

Money towards childcare any one of the following schemes age 0 to 11 or 16 if disabled get up to £2000 per child for working families tax free childcare; age 0 to 16 claim back up to 85% of costs for working families universal credit; age 0 to 15 or 16 if disabled claim back up to 70% of costs for working families tax credits. Can be used with age 2 for families getting certain government support 15 hours free ; age 3 and 4 for all families 15 hours free; age 3 and 4 for working families 30 hours free

Find out more

To find out more about the support you can get, visit the Childcare Choices website.

Childcare choices logo

Don't forget that our team are ready to help you understand your entitlement and find suitable childcare. Just complete this short form and we will be in touch within 5 working days.  Or, if you wish to speak with someone, call us on 01274 437503 in office hours.

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