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Early Education Funding for 3 and 4 year olds - 30 Hours

All 3 & 4 year old children are currently entitled to 15 hours of funded childcare (570 hours per year), but some working parents will be eligible for 30 hours of funded childcare (1140 hours per year) if they meet certain criteria.

How can the funded hours be used?

If eligible for the 30 hours childcare,  also known as the ‘Extended Entitlement', the 1140 hours of funded childcare can be taken across the year, either in term times only or ‘stretched' across the year for example.

  • Up to 30 hours per week across 38 weeks per year (term time offer)
  • Up to 22 hours per week across 51 weeks of the year (‘stretched offer'). 

If your provider is willing to ‘stretch' the offer over 38 weeks, this will be indicated on the Childcare provider's record within the FID easily filtering those who do.  Your provider may currently be offering ‘stretch' for the 15 hours funded entitlement, please ask them.

Do I have to use the funded hours at the same provider?

As long as you don't claim more than 30 hours per week in total the hours can be split between up to 2 different providers. You may find that your provider is going to be working in partnership with another to enable you to use the full 30 hours.  You can split the entitlement between multiple providers, though no more than two sites in one day.

The Family Information Directory (FID) will be offering an additional filter so that you can easily find those providers who intend to offer the 30 hours extended entitlement.

How many funded hours can I have per day?

You will need to discuss this with your chosen provider to jointly agree the most appropriate length of time in consideration of your child's well-being.  The Government’s set maximum session length of 10 hours is unchanged.

When will my child be eligible?

As with the existing 15 hours entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds, children become eligible for the extended entitlement from the dates shown in the table below - the code is not valid before then.

 Children born in the period

 Eligible for funded hours

 1 January – 31 March

 1 April

 1 April - 31 August

 1 September

 1 September – 31 December

 1 January

Do I meet the eligibility criteria?

Both parents must be in work, as defined below, and for single parent families, the sole parent must be in work. To work out whether you, or your partner qualify, you will be assessed for eligibility.

For the purpose of the scheme (Extended Entitlement) ‘in work' is means being in employment (including self-employment) and earning more than the equivalent of the national minimum wage for working 16 hours per week, in other words you may not be working 16 hours to meet the criteria. 

As an example, the current minimum wage is £7.50 per hour for over 25’s, so the minimum weekly income to be eligible would be £7.50 x 16 = £120.00

Each parent must also earn less than £100,000 a year.

One parent must be ‘in work’ if the other receives disability benefit or benefits related to caring responsibilities.  If you are not currently working, you can apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.

How do I check if I'm eligible?

You can check your eligibility on-line at If eligible you will receive a unique code, which you share with your chosen provider(s).  

When to apply

When your child turns 3

When they can get 30 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

You can apply outside of these recommended dates but you might not receive your code in time. 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.

How often do I have to apply?

You have to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. Please check your reconfirmation dates in your account.

Maternity leave & statutory sick leave

Families with a working parent who is on temporary leave from work, such as maternity leave or statutory sick pay, are still considered to be in work and will be eligible for the 30 hours childcare if they meet all the criteria.

What happens if I stop working?

If either or both of the child's parents stop work at any point, after a short ‘grace period’ to support you to find a new job, the child will stop being eligible for the additional 15 hours funded childcare.  This also applies to other changes to circumstances which affect eligibility.  See table below: 

If parents’ eligibility status changes in the period;

The child will continue to be funded until;

First half of Autumn Term

End of the Autumn Term

Second half of the Autumn Term

End of first half of Spring Term

First half of the Spring Term

End of the Spring Term

Second half of Spring Term

End of first half of Summer Term

First half of Summer Term

End of the Summer Term

Second half of Summer Term

Start of the Autumn Term

Can I access the 30 Hours funded childcare for a child I foster?

Foster carers may be eligible for the extended entitlement for their own children and also claim the 30 hours childcare for children who they foster, where the foster parent(s) are engaged in paid work outside of their fostering responsibilities. Foster parents should contact their social worker to enquire about this.

Special Education Needs or Disability (SEND)

Each provider, under the SEND Code of Practice must provide information about how they support children with SEND.

Information can be found on each providers individual service details under the `SEND Local Offer' tab.

Find childcare and get further help

Use the Family Information Directory to search for local early years and childcare providers.

If you need help finding childcare or accessing childcare funding, contact the Family Information Service on 01202 261970 or email and we'll be happy to help.