30 hours childcare

The government is going to double the amount of free childcare from 15 to 30 hours a week for working parents of three and four year olds from September 2017.

The new entitlement is for 1,140 hours of early years education, this could be across the whole year or in term time only.

Who will be eligible?

People who meet all these criteria:

  • parents of a child who is three or four years old (and under compulsory school age)
  • both parents are working (or the sole parent is working, in a lone parent family), this includes employed and self-employed work
  • each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW), and less than £100,000 per year.

For two parent families, children will also be entitled if:

  • both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • both parents are employed but one or both parents are away from the workplace on statutory sick pay
  • one parent is employed and the other has substantial caring responsibilities (and receiving specific benefits for caring)
  • one parent is employed and the other is disabled or incapacitated (and receiving specific benefits)

A parent will not meet the criteria if:

  • they have an income of more than £100,000
  • they are a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control (and has no recourse to public funds)

Using the additional hours

Entitlement to free hours does not guarantee a place at any one provider or a particular pattern of provision. There are some basic guidelines:

  • no session longer than ten hours
  • no minimum session length
  • not before 6am or after 8pm
  • a maximum of two sites in a single day
  • term time only or spread across the year

Applying for 30 hours childcare