30 hour free childcare entitlement | Oxfordshire County Council

30 hour free childcare entitlement

Information to help childcare providers, including schools, plan for the increase in entitlement.

Children and adults playing in a garden

From September 2017, the government will introduce an additional 15 hours a week of free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds.

Statutory guidance and government publications 

Provider resources

The following tools are available to help you develop your plans.

Frequently asked questions

Funding

When does a maintained or independent school need to register its early years or childcare provision with Ofsted?

Can parents that defer a child’s entry into reception still access 25 hours of childcare in maintained nursery schools/PVI sector?

25 hour will still be available unless the child qualifies for the 30 hour free entitlement. This is under review, as the DfE have indicated that funding will not continue for this concession. Providers will be given as much notice as possible of any changes.

Do providers have to offer either 15 or 30 hours and nothing in between?

Providers can offer up to 30 hours.

How do I sign up to the 30 hour entitlement?

Providers will be contacted at the end of April to ask about their intentions.

What will the hourly funding rate be in Oxfordshire?

The hourly funding rate from April 2017 will be £4.01 for three and four year olds and £5.52 for eligible two year olds.

Will there be two different rates for the universal 15 hours and the additional 15 hours?

No, the rate will be same for both.

Will the Early Years Pupil Premium be included in the overall funding rate?

The EYPP will continue to be a separate funding stream specifically for disadvantaged 3 & 4 year olds. For those parents who attract the funding, providers will also receive a deprivation supplement, with the two together being and additional £1 per hour for these children.

Will providers be funded through the local authority

Yes, this has been confirmed by the government.

Can we charge top up fees to cover the cost of delivering the additional 15 hours?

No, as with the existing scheme, the entitlement must be delivered free of charge.

When can parents apply online?

Parents can sign up for email alerts on the New Childcare Schemes webpage.

Can I charge around the free entitlements to ensure a sustainable provision?

Yes, the funding is not intended to cover the cost of meals, consumables, additional hours or additional services. The provider can charge for these items but the charges must be voluntary for the parent and must not constitute a condition on accessing a funded place. Parents should be made aware of the provider’s policy on charging where parents are unable or unwilling to pay for meals and consumables. Options could include waiving or reducing the cost of meals and snacks or allowing parents to supply their own meals.

The provider should be transparent about any additional charges, by ensuring that parents are aware of and have seen their prospectus and admissions criteria before deciding on the place, and ensuring parents understand which hours/sessions are free provision through clear and transparent itemised invoices and receipts.

Eligibility

Who is eligible for the additional 15 hours?

Children in families where both parents are working (or the sole parent in a lone parent family), and each parent earns approx. £115.00 per week (a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage); and less than £100,000 per year.

See Statutory guidance for local authorities or more information

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, the additional hours are expected to be available in certain circumstances e.g. maternity leave, parents with substantial caring responsibilities etc. See Statutory guidance for local authorities for more information

What are the rules for parents that have separated?

Eligibility applies to the parent with whom the child ‘normally lives’. See Statutory guidance for local authorities for more information

How will eligibility be checked?

Parents will be able to apply and check their eligibility online.  The process is described in the Provider Briefing document above.

What if a child becomes ineligible?

A ‘grace period’ will operate for children that become ineligible.  Details can be found  on page 10 and 11 of the Statutory Guidance for local authorities.

Delivery

Will it be compulsory to offer the 30 hours?

No, providers can continue to offer just the universal 15 hours entitlement. Offering the 30 hours is optional.  Providers will, however, need to think about how they will manage parental expectations and make clear any chargeable hours or sessions.

Does the 30 hours have to be delivered during term time?

The 30 hours can be delivered in a number of different ways.  See stretched funding for more information.

Can the funding be split between providers?

The funding can be split between a maximum of 2 sites in any one day. There is no limit on the number of providers during a funding period.

What about maintained schools?

Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools must follow the Oxfordshire County Council Nursery Admissions policy. The new policy allows flexibility for schools able to offer the 30 hours, and additional information to support this.

More information

Contact: 30hours@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Last reviewed
07 August 2017
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