30 hours free childcare for working parents
The Department for Education released the following press release last week regarding the new childcare support offer that commences from 1 September 2017. They said:
Parents of three and four-year olds who have registered for a place will join the 15,000 families benefitting in the 12 areas of the country that introduced the offer early.
The offer should save families around £5,000 per year on childcare, helping them to balance their jobs and family lives, and around 390,000 working families are eligible to benefit. The latest evaluation shows 8 out of 10 childcare providers were willing and able to double their current 15 hours offer.
The providers in the 12 areas across the country that implemented the offer early have helped to share examples of best practice for other providers to follow. This has been bolstered by the work of local authorities across the country in supporting their local early years sector to deliver the offer.
To be eligible for the 30 hours the following conditions apply:
- You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £120 a week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage).
- If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.
- You can't get 30 hours free childcare if you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 or more.
- Available to parents of age 3 and 4-year-olds born on or after 1 September 2012.
The scheme can be accessed at:
- Nurseries and nursery classes
- Playgroups and pre-school
- Sure Start Children's Centres
If eligible, you would be entitled to an extra 570 hours of free childcare a year to use flexibly, so 1140 hours in total.
The first eight Early Implementer areas were Hertfordshire, Newham, Northumberland, Portsmouth, Staffordshire, Swindon, Wigan and York, launching 30 hours in September 2016. Dorset, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire and Tower Hamlets joined the scheme in April 2017.
The Childcare Choices website provides information on the government’s childcare schemes and explains how parents can pre-register or apply. It also includes a childcare calculator to show eligible families how much they could receive. https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
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