There are a few different funding options when it comes to childcare. Here is a brief overview of the different schemes that are currently available to children in the UK
Early Education for 3 & 4 Year Olds:
In England, all three and four-year-olds are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or child care every year. Most people take this as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks. This funding starts from the term following your child’s 3rd birthday.
Funding for this free childcare is very simple. Once you have chosen your childcare provider, they will explain to you when the free early education will begin and confirm the availability of places. They will give you a ‘Parent/Carer Contract’ form to complete which confirms the terms and conditions of the entitlement. Your child’s childcare provider will then claim the entitlement on your behalf. Parents do not need to do anything else at this point. If you want your child to attend more than 15 hours a week, additional hours must be paid for.
Early Education Funding for Two Year Olds:
Some two-year-olds may be also entitled to free early years education and childcare. This will depend on individual cases, for example, your child might be eligible if you claim certain benefits or if they have a disability.
30 Hours Of Funding Per Week for 3 and 4 Year Olds Only:
Some families will be eligible for a total of 30 hours of funding per week for 38 weeks of the year. This is the basic 15 hours funding plus an additional 15, making an maximum of 30 hours of funded childcare once your child has passed his or her third birthday.
To be eligible for the additional 15 hours of free childcare:
- your child must be three or four when the scheme starts in your area.
- both parents must be working – or the sole parent must be working in a single parent family.
- each parent must earn on average at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the National Minimum Wage or National National Living Wage.
- each parent must earn less than £100,000 a year.
This additional funding needs to be applied for by parents directly to their local authority and it needs to be applied for in advance for each new term. For example, families wishing to apply for funding for the Spring term, starting in January, must apply before the end of the Autumn term otherwise funding will be missed and any additional childcare hours will need to be paid for. Claims are made solely via www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.
Here at Cuddles, we accept all of the above funding for both nursery and pre-school hours, subject to availability.