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All parents of children aged 3 and 4 years old are currently entitled to 15 hours worth of FREE childcare per week. However, all working parents can now apply for an additional 15 hours FREE childcare taking the total available to 30 hours a week.
The Government estimates that around 390,000 3 and 4 year olds will be eligible for this extra childcare and it's hoped that it will better support parents who want to work, or want to be able to increase their working hours, but until now, haven’t been able to afford to do so.
15 hours FREE childcare per week will remain for every child aged 3-4 and a number of 2 year olds, depending on eligibility.
Latest News - January 2018
ALREADY GETTING 30 HOURS FREE?
If you want your 30 hours FREE childcare to continue you MUST re-confirm your details & eligibility every 3 months. Full information is available below in the "Re-Confirm Eligibility" tab.
WANT TO START CLAIMING NEXT TERM?
The next full term starts on April 1st 2018. In order to access this you must have applied for your code and had it validated by no later than March 31st in order to get funding on time.
This is not available to everyone and there are strict criteria in place, as follows:
The same rules apply to anyone on a zero-hours contract or those who are self-employed. However, it is important to remember that this scheme is being introduced to help working parents and is not simply a way for those choosing not to work to be able to access an additional benefit.
There are certain provisions in place for families where one of the parents:
Help will be available to ascertain what support will be in place for these families and how to access it. Parents who are studying or in training will not be eligible unless they also work and meet the above listed minimum average earnings threshold.
I’m not sure if I’m paid the equivalent of 16 hours at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage?
This will depend on your age and for this scheme, the minimum amount will always be the lowest hourly rate that a person of your age can legally be paid.
Currently, for a parent aged 21-24, you'd need to earn a weekly average of at least £111.20. If you are a parent aged 25 or over, you'd need to earn a weekly average of at least £115.20.
The scheme will also take into account that sometimes people lose their jobs and there will be a "grace period" in place should this situation arise. However, at the time of writing this, the period of time allowed for new employment to be found hasn’t yet been defined.
If you have applied and/or claimed up to 30 hours of free childcare and/or Tax-Free Childcare, you must reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. You must do this even if your child hasn't started using their 30 hour free place yet.
How do I do it?
Your email will look something like this...
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 free 30 hours again you will have to re-submit an application and present your new code to your provider. Your childcare provider will let you keep your child's place for a short period of time whilst you rearrange your childcare or apply again but you must discuss this with your childcare provider.
What do I need to apply?
Before you start the application, it's important to ensure that the childcare provider you are using / would like to use the free hours with is participating and signed up to offer the additional 15 hours.
When applying you will need:
If you were invited to the service, but the system doesn't find you...
That's OK. Simply, select No, instead of Yes, when prompted, and you will still be able to apply.
How do I apply?
If you think you are eligible for this, you can APPLY NOW via the online application form on the HMRC website. You can also apply for Tax Free Childcare online.
If you would like any further help, please do not hesitate to contact the St.Helens Free Early Education Entitlement Team on 01744 676542 / 6557 or email email@example.com. You can also find out about all childcare available online at Childcare Choices.