I was always under the impression that because we were not eligible for the 30 hours free childcare, that would simply be it.

Wrong.

You can still get 15 hours free childcare.

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks.

What are the requirements?

You must be with an approved childcare provider.

What is an approved childcare provider?

  • Registered school
  • Registered nursery, childminder, playscheme, club or a nanny.
  • A home care worker for a registered home care agency
  • A childminder or nanny with a registered childminder agency or childcare agency.
  • childminder or nanny with a registered childminder agency or childcare agency

If you are unsure your childcare provider is registered search through Ofstead.

Childcare that is provided by relatives can still qualify if they are a registered childminder and care for your child outside your home. So basically, if your child’s grandparent looks after them casually on a Friday, you can not claim for free childcare hours.

This also goes for if your partner stays at home looking after your child. You can not claim for free childcare hours. And foster parents can not claim unless they are registered childcare.

How do you pay the childcare provider?

If you are eligible for free childcare hours, you can pay the childcare provider using:

  • Universal Credit
  • Tax credits
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Tax-Free Childcare

When does the free childcare hours start?

As soon as your child reaches three years old, you can get the free hours after the term from their birthday. Simply ask their childcare provider for the form if they have not already asked you yet.

When does the free childcare hours stop?

When your child reaches compulsory school age the free hours will stop. For most children this will be when they first start reception.

Zoe
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