Free childcare to double to 30 hours a week from September

The government is doubling free child care for three and four-year-olds in England from 15 hours to 30 hours a week from September 2017.

The move is designed to help those parents to work who are currently deterred by the high cost of childcare.

To be eligible for the 30 hours of funding, parents will need to work at least 16 hours a week and earn less than £100,000.

It will usually be available for 38 weeks of the year (term-time) but if a child attends a childcare setting for 51 weeks of the year it will be ‘stretched’ to 22 hours a week (a total of 1,140 hours per year, whichever way you choose to take it).

If you’re eligible for the extra hours, you can sign up online providing your details including national insurance number. You will then be given an 11-digit code to give to your childcare provider to reserve your place. The extra hours will begin once the next term starts.

Qualifying criteria

Parents will be eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • They earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months
  • This equates to £120 a week for each parent over 25 years old, £112.80 a week for those between 21 and 24 years old and £56 a week for apprentices in their first year
  • This applies to both parents in a household or lone parents

The government has urged eligible parents to get online and apply early for their entitlement. To apply, you can make an online application here

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