Twice as much free early education and childcare
All 3 and 4-year-old children are entitled to up to 15 hours a week of free (funded) early education and childcare. This adds up to 570 hours a year and is called the universal entitlement.
From September 2017, some 3 and 4-year-olds with working parents can get an additional 15 hours a week or up to 1,190 hours per year. The extra 15 hours are called the extended entitlement (also known as 30 hours).
To be eligible for the extended entitlement, families must meet all the following criteria:
- Both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) and;
- Each earns or expects to earn a minimum equivalent to 16 hours a week at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months and;
- Each earns less than £100,000 a year
This applies whether parents are in paid employment, self-employed or on a zero hours contract. If parents are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or unable to work because they are disabled or have caring responsibilities, they could still be eligible.
The child is entitled to the extended entitlement from the term after both of the following conditions are met:
- the child is age three
- the child’s parent has checked their eligibility and met the economic criteria and received an 11 digit code as confirmation
Parents can check their eligibility for the new entitlement (and other childcare support such Tax Free Childcare) through Childcare Choices
Deadline – parents wishing to use this new entitlement from September MUST apply and receive their eligibility code by 31 August 2017
If you know of working families whose 3-year-old children are starting in their universal places in September and who may be eligible, please do remind them to check right away via Childcare Choices.
Some schools and many private nurseries, preschools and childminders will be offering extended entitlement places from September. Families can take up their universal and extended entitlement hours with more than one provider, but not at more than two sites in any one day.