Quick Enquiry

What parents need to know…

The UK Government have a number of funded childcare schemes to help, and there are some great options for parents.

Visit childcarechoices.gov.uk for more information on the support you could receive and don’t miss out on the help you could be entitled to.

England Scotland

Tax-free childcare

As we are Ofsted-registered, we’re able to accept tax-free payment for childcare at our Nurseries.

Tax-Free Childcare is a government initiative designed to help working parents with the cost of childcare.

You open an online account with the government (though the government website, GOV.UK) which you can pay into to cover the cost of childcare with a registered provider. For every 80p you (or someone else) pays in, the government will top up an extra 20p. This is equivalent of the tax most people pay – 20% – which is how the scheme got its name.

The government will top up the account with 20% of childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 – the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child, per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).

An update from the Spring budget

In the recent Spring budget (2023), the Government announced that they will be helping parents with childcare so they can return to work more easily via a range of new measures.

Working parents in England will be able to access 30 hours of funded childcare per week, for 38 weeks of the year, from when their child is 9 months old to when they start school.

This will be rolled out in stages:

  • From April 2024, all working parents of 2-year-olds can access 15 hours per week
  • From September 2024, all working parents of children aged 9 months up to 3 years old can access 15 hours per week
  • From September 2025 all working parents of children aged 9 months up to 3 years old can access 30 hours funded childcare per week.

Your eligibility depends on the following factors:

  • If you are working
  • Your income (and your partner’s income, if applicable)
  • Your child’s age and circumstances
  • Your immigration status


In order to apply, you first have to check that you are eligible. You can do this by visiting www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare

It’s important to consider whether Tax-Free Childcare is the right scheme for you and your family if you’re already claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers. Every family is different and requires different forms of support. To find out which scheme serves you best, you can use this helpful calculator.

Once your application has been approved, you’ll be able to pay your chosen childcare provider (tax free) from your government account! You can log into your account here, and once the money is shown as ‘cleared funds’, you can make your payment. The payments should then show in your childcare provider’s account within 24 hours, depending on their bank.

In England, there are two government funded 15 hours free early education schemes that offer childcare for children aged two, three and four:

  • 15 hours funded childcare for eligible 2-year-olds
  • 15 hours funded childcare for all 3 and 4-year-olds

This comes to a total of 570 free hours per year. To apply to receive funded hours, contact the Nursery Manager who will talk you through the necessary steps. You can use the hours from 1 January, 1 April or 1 September following your child’s second birthday.

Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:

  • Are looked after by a local authority
  • Have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • Get Disability Living Allowance
  • Have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

In order to find out if you’re eligible/to apply – you will need to contact your local council.

All 3 and 4-year-olds in England currently receive 15 hours a week government funded early education. If their parents are living and working in England, 3 and 4-year-olds may be entitled to 30 hours funded childcare, which is up to 1,140 hours per year in total.

If eligible you will be entitled to access the 30 funded hours from the beginning of the term following your child’s 3rd birthday.

More detailed information, including how to find out whether you’re eligible, can be found via the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare


Work Requirements

The parent (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work. Parents must earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months.

Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months.


This offer is for working families in England. If one or both parents is a non-EEA national, the parent applying must have recourse to public funds. If one or both parents is a non-EEA national and the parent applying does not have recourse to public funds, you will not be eligible.

For more information about eligibility criteria, please visit the Childcare Choices website or download the Department for Education eligibility document.


Parents must earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months. This equates to £120 a week for each parent over 25 years old or £112.80 a week for each parent between 21 and 24 years old and £56 a week for apprentices in their first year.

You can’t get 30 hours free childcare if you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 or more.

Age of Children

Your child/children must be either 3 or 4 years old. You can apply for funding in the term prior to your child’s 3rd birthday but the funding will not apply until the term after they turn 3.

Childcare Calculator:

You can check the Government’s Childcare Calculator to see what help you can receive https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator

Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) 1140 Hours

If your child is 3 or 4 years old, then you will be able to access up to 1140 hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare a year. About a quarter of 2-year-olds in Scotland are also eligible. These hours are free to you, funded by the Scottish Government, and Local Authorities are responsible for ensuring that funded entitlement is available for all eligible children in their area.

Types of Funding Available

There are currently two types of funded childcare schemes that offer help towards childcare for children aged 2, 3 and 4 years. Each of the schemes has different eligibility rules, so it is important that you check which scheme is right for you.
The childcare provider enters into an agreement with the Local Authority to provide funded childcare. Parents of children who are receiving funded childcare do not have access to, or the right to access, the monies paid to the childcare provider for the provision of the funded childcare.

Funding is intended to cover the cost of standard childcare only and a minimum of one meal per funded day. It does not necessarily cover the cost of all meals (including food and preparation): in these circumstances CC Nurseries may add on a sundries charge for snacks/meals as required, which will be detailed in a nursery’s fee sheet.

Parents must apply for funding annually and this may be done online via the council website or by completing and returning a paper application form to the nursery. Proof of address and child’s date of birth will also be required. Applications are submitted based on Local Authority timelines. Funding cannot be backdated for any delayed applications. Funded hours cannot be provided until the nursery has received confirmation from the Local Authority, or from you as the parent, that funding has been granted for your child.

Some 2-year-olds are entitled to up to 1140 hours of funded childcare a year. The spirit of this scheme is to ensure that those 2-year-olds who otherwise would not be accessing childcare, are enrolled in a setting that will help to improve their development and social skills and will start to prepare them for primary school.

Funded early learning and childcare is available if your child is 2 years old or over and is – or since they turned 2 has been:

  • looked after by a local council
  • the subject of a kinship care order
  • the subject of a guardianship order

Your child can also get funded early learning and childcare if they have turned 2 and you receive one of these benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker’s Allowance (income based)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

If you receive tax credits or universal credit, then you can earn a certain amount of money and still be eligible. For more information on universal credits, go to https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-your-earnings-affect-your-payments.

Once you have been accepted for 2-year-old funded childcare, your child will continue to receive the funded childcare until they turn three, even if there is a change in your circumstances and even if you are no longer in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

If you think you are eligible for 2-year-old funded childcare you must apply to your Local Authority: this may be done online or via a form which is available from your Nursery Manager. If you are successful, the Local Authority will provide you with confirmation of eligibility (normally a letter or an email) and you must provide this to the nursery directly in order to access the 2-year-old funded childcare.

Please note that we cannot guarantee availability for a 2-year-old funded place: a place can only be offered if and when space becomes available.

All children aged 3 years and over are eligible for up to 1140 hours of funded childcare per year. Depending on which Local Authority your nursery is located in, funding is provided over 50 weeks (22.8 hours per week), or 51 weeks (22.35 hours per week). If you wish to access funded childcare on a term-time basis, please contact the nursery directly to discuss availability as this may not be an option at your nursery.

Children can access a maximum of 10 funded hours per day, usually between 8am and 6pm, although this will vary subject to individual nursery opening hours and can be split between up to two different childcare providers.

Children typically access the ELC funded childcare from the term after they turn 3, however some Local Authorities can provide funding from the day after your child’s 3rd birthday. Your Nursery Manager will be able to advise you. For termly eligibility, the dates are:

Children born between 1st March and 31st August – funding will start from the Autumn Term (August)

Children born between 1st September and 31st December – funding will start from the Spring Term (January)

Children born between 1st January and last day of February – funding will start from the Summer Term (March/April)

If your child is still 4 years old on the date they are due to start primary school, you can defer your child’s entry to primary school by a year.

If your child is deferring entry to school for a year, you can:

Automatically get an extra year of early learning and childcare funding if their 5th birthday is in January or February.

Apply to your local council and request an extra year of funding if their 5th birthday is after the beginning of the autumn term, in August, and before 1st January – your local council will decide if your child will get an extra year of funding.