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Childcare Expansion

From April 2024, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours childcare support in addition to the current offer for 3 and 4 year olds.

From September 2024, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents of children from the age of 9 months to 3 and 4 year-olds.

From September 2025, eligible working parents of children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.

  • 1 year and 36 weeks for 15 hours free/funded childcare

  • 2 years and 36 weeks for 30 hours free/funded childcare

Muriel Green school will be offering parents the opportunity to use their funding codes within the Nursery. The details are of the sessions for which they apply will be shared in due course.

Full Information

In the 2023 Spring budget the Government announced new working parent entitlements for children aged 9 months up to and including 2 years old to expand on the existing childcare support for 3 and 4 year olds.  This means that there will be funding to reduce your childcare costs from the end of your maternity or shared parental leave until your child starts school.

April 2024 sees the start of some significant changes to extend the existing 15 and 30 hours childcare support in England.  The expansion will be introduced in phases; by September 2025, most working families with children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare support.

The Current offer

All parents/carers of 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours a week childcare support with registered childcare providers.

Eligible working parents and carers of children aged 3-4 can also get an additional 15 hours childcare support, bringing their total up to 30 hours a week.

Eligible parents of 2-year-old children may also be entitled to 15 hours childcare support if they receive some additional forms of government support.

The Expansion – What’s New

In addition to the current offer:

From April 2024, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours childcare support.

From September 2024, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents of children from the age of 9 months to 3-year-olds.

From September 2025, eligible working parents of children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.

When will my funded childcare place start?

Funding usually starts the term after your child’s eligible birthday.  For example:

  • children born in the period 1 January to 31 March: the start of term beginning on or following 1 April after the child’s relevant birthday or date of turning 9 months old

  • children born in the period 1 April to 31 August: the start of term beginning on or following 1 September after the child’s relevant birthday or date of turning 9 months old

  • children born in the period 1 September to 31 December: the start of term beginning on or following 1 January after the child’s relevant birthday or date of turning 9 months old

However, this may differ if there are planned INSET days or school closures.

Eligibility for working parents entitlements

A child is entitled to free/funded early years provision if the child has attained the relevant age, is under compulsory school age and the child’s parent(s) meets the eligibility criteria set out below:

  • the parent of the child (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work

  • the parent of the child (and their partner where applicable) should also be in qualifying paid work. The definition of qualifying paid work is set out in regulations 16 and 17 of the 2022 Regulations, and the minimum income requirement is in regulation 18. Each parent or the single parent in a lone parent household will need to expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours at the national minimum wage rate over the forthcoming quarter

  • where one or both parents are on certain forms of family leave from work (including maternity, paternity or shared parental leave) or in receipt of certain forms of statutory pay in connection with sickness or parenting, they are treated as though they meet the minimum income requirement. This will apply for the 31 days before they return to work for those parents on family leave in relation to the child in free childcare

  • where one parent (in a couple household) is in receipt or could be entitled to be in receipt of specific benefits related to caring, incapacity for work or limited capability for work that they are treated as though they are in paid work

  • 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 in order to qualify for the working parent entitlement

  • if either or each parent’s income exceeds £100,000, they will not be eligible for the working parent entitlement

 

Children in foster care who have attained the Relevant Age are also eligible for the working parent entitlements, provided the foster parent is in paid work outside their fostering role, does not expect their adjusted net income to exceed £100,000 and the responsible local authority[footnote 15] confirms it is satisfied that the foster parent engaging in paid work, other than as a foster parent, is consistent with the child’s care plan. The foster parent does not have to meet the minimum income requirement.

When to apply

Currently, you can apply on-line from when your child is:

  • 1 year and 36 weeks for 15 hours free/funded childcare

  • 2 years and 36 weeks for 30 hours free/funded childcare

Your child’s birthday                          When they can get their hours from                  Recommended time to apply

1 September to 31 December               Term starting on or after 1 January                 15 October to 30 November

1 January to 31 March                         Term starting on or after 1 April                     15 January to 28 February

1 April to 31 August                            Term starting on or after 1 September             15 June to 31 July

Your child’s birthday                          When they can get their hours from                  Recommended time to apply

1 September to 31 December               Term starting on or after 1 January                 15 October to 30 November

1 January to 31 March                         Term starting on or after 1 April                     15 January to 28 February

1 April to 31 August                            Term starting on or after 1 September             15 June to 31 July

It can take 20 minutes to apply. You may find out if you’re eligible straight away, but it can take up to 7 days.  Once your application has been approved, you’ll get a code for free childcare to give to your childcare provider.  You have to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. If you apply more than 3 months before the term starts, you’ll have to reconfirm your eligibility in your account in order to keep your code valid. 

If you already have a tax free funding account you may have to wait until you reconfirm your information to apply for your code.  Please note that it may be beneficial to apply for a code in February as if you apply too early you may have to reconfirm your code before your funding starts at the beginning of the term.

You can check the latest information about whether you are eligible for up to 30 free hours of childcare a week and Tax-Free Childcare for you child/children here

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