30 hours free childcare | Oxfordshire County Council

30 hours free childcare

Working parents may be eligible for an extra 15 hours childcare a week from September 2017.

How it works

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours a week, or 570 hours a year of free early education.

Families where both parents/carers are working (or one if a lone parent) and earn at least the equivalent of minimum wage for 16 hours a week but under £100,000 per year may be eligible for 30 hours (from September 2017).

Please be aware that the entitlement to a free place does not offer a guarantee of a place at any one provider or a particular pattern of provision.

Check if you are eligible and sign up to 30 hours childcare and/or tax free childcare

Parents who need assistance to apply, or who do not have access to the internet, can call the childcare services Customer Interaction Centre on 0300 123 4097 and apply over the phone.  Parents who complete their original application over the phone will need to phone the Customer Interaction Centre to reconfirm their eligibility.

It is worth noting before you start that both parents (unless a lone parent) will need
• National Insurance number
• if you're self-employed, your Unique Taxpayer Reference
• the date you started, or are due to start work
• details of any other government support you get
To register an account a parent also needs a copy of either their passport, a payslip or their P60 .

What if my childcare provider does not provide the 30 hours?

It is up to the childcare provider whether or not they offer the 15 hours and/or 30 hours funded childcare.  Your 30 hours funding can be split between providers.

What happens if I become ineligible?

If you become ineligible for the 30 hours funding, there is a period of 'grace' that you keep funding for. This provides continuity for you and your child and minimises disruption should there be a temporary change in your circumstances, for example, if you are between jobs.

Date parent or carer receives ineligible decision on reconfirmation: Grace period end date:
1 Jan – 10 Feb 31 March
11 Feb – 31 March 31 August
1 April – 26 May 31 August
27 May – 31 August 31 December
1 September – 21 October 31 December
22 October – 31 December 31 March

Your  3- 4 year old will still be entitled to 15 hours of funded childcare even if you are not entitled to the 30 hours.

How flexible can this be?

Providers are under no requirement to offer the 30 hours but where they do they are encouraged to be as flexible as possible bearing in mind that:

  • no session can be longer than 10 hours
  • there is no minimum session length (subject to the requirements of registration on the Ofsted Early Years Register)
  • it must be between 6am and 8pm
  • a maximum of two sites in a single day

Where providers offer this, the 30 hours can be taken:

  • over up to 52 weeks of the year
  •  outside of maintained school term times
  • at weekends

When should I apply?

Parents are encouraged to apply the term before their child meets the age criteria to ensure they can access the place at the start of the term after their child turns three.

Last reviewed
08 May 2017
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