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30 hours' funded early education

Extended entitlement for working parents

To make childcare more affordable for working parents, the government has increased free early education entitlement for three and four-year-olds. Parents can now claim from 15 up to 30 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, if they are eligible.

This extended entitlement is equivalent to an additional 570 hours of childcare over the year.

To give parents and carers choice and flexibility, providers should offer the entitlement within the following parameters:

  • No session to be longer than 10 hours
  • No minimum session length
  • No session before 6am or after 8pm
  • A maximum of two childcare providers in a single day.

Already receiving your 30 hours' early education?

If you want this to continue, you must re-confirm your details and eligibility every three months. See the 'Re-confirm eligibility' section below for more details.

Access to the extended 30-hour entitlement will depend on your individual family circumstances.

Find out if you meet the eligibility criteria.

    1. If you think you are eligible, start by visiting the government's Childcare Choices website to get your eligibility code.
    2. Once you have this, you can create an account with St Helens Council.
    3. Complete your details in full and make sure you click save at the bottom. This will return you to the homepage and you will be asked to verify your email at the email address you've just used on the form. The email will be from System Support Service Desk at St Helens Council.
    4. Once you have clicked on the link in the email to verify, you can return to the homepage and log in using the email/username and password you created.
    5. You will then be asked to Create a Child by clicking on the blue 'New Child' box.
    6. You will then need to add your National Insurance Number and tick the child(ren) you are applying for the 30 hours for, and click 'Enter Eligibility Code(s)'.
    7. Enter the code and click 'Validate Codes'. If you are eligible, you will get immediate confirmation on screen.
    8. You have then completed all checks and can click 'OK' and head straight to the childcare search page and find what you need.
    9. Once you have the one you'd like, complete the 'Register Interest' step-by-step form and this will go to the provider.
    10. You can register interest with as many as you like.
    11. You will be informed by your online council account once a place is confirmed for you.

More information

If you would like any further help, please do not hesitate to contact our Funded Early Education Entitlement team on 01744 676542 / 6557 or email earlyyearsfeee@sthelens.gov.uk.

If you have applied for or claimed up to 30 hours of funded childcare and/or tax-free childcare, you must reconfirm your eligibility every three months. You must do this even if your child hasn't started using their 30-hour place yet. 

How do I do it?

  • You must do this three months from the date you applied to receive the 30 hours and then again every three months.
  • You will get a text and/or email four weeks before your re-confirmation deadline, which will remind you to log into your Childcare Service account.
  • In the account, head to 'secure messages', which you can access at any time, and in the section on re-confirmation your re-confirmation date will be stated.
  • You can re-confirm your eligibility up to four weeks before your actual date.


Your first reminder email, four weeks before you need to re-confirm, will look something like this...

You will also get a second reminder two weeks before you need to reconfirm, if you haven't done it already.

How do I access my account?

Simply head back to the Childcare Service and log in.

What if I miss the re-confirmation deadline?

If you miss the deadline, or if your circumstances change, you will get a message to say your eligibility has ended. In order to receive the 30 hours again, you will have to to re-apply.

When your original code expires, you will fall into a grace period, which means that you will be able to keep your child's place for a short period of time while you re-apply or try to regain employment. 

If you have any queries, please contact our Funded Early Education Entitlement team on the following numbers:

  • Enquiries about entitlement for 2-year-olds – 01744 676541
  • All other enquiries – 01744 676542 or 676557

How can we make this information easier to understand? Do you have any other feedback about this page? We'd welcome your thoughts - email us on earlyyearsfeee@sthelens.gov.uk.