Childcare Support is Expanding

The Government are focused on giving children the best start in life and are supporting parents to access affordable, high-quality childcare. 

With a £4 billion per year expansion of childcare in England, this is the largest expansion of funded childcare ever.  This will remove barriers to work for nearly half a million parents with a child under 3 years old in England.

When will the Childcare Expansion Support begin?

Existing childcare support will be expanded in phases. These changes are being introduced gradually to make sure that childcare providers can meet the needs of more families.

This means that:

  • From April 2024, 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 working parents of children from the age of 9 months to 3 year olds.
  • From September 2025, working parents of children from the age of 9 months to  the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.

Like the existing offer, depending on your childcare provider, these hours can be used over 38 weeks of the year (during school term time), or up to 52 weeks if you use fewer than your total hours per week. 

How do I know what I am eligible for?

You can check this on the Childcare Choices website here.

When will my child be eligible?

The free entitlements will continue to work on a termly basis.  Children of eligible working parents will be able to receive their entitlement from the termly dates below, after they reach the relevant age.

  • 1 January
  • 1 April
  • 1 September

For example a child who turns two on or before 31 March 2024, will be eligible for their entitlement to start on 1 April 2024, providing their parents have successfully applied.

How do I apply?

Once applications are introduced they will continue to be done via the Childcare Service on the Childcare Choices webpage.

All eligibility checks will be processed through HMRC.

What other support is available?

Universal Credit

Further support is also available for parents on Universal Credit. Eligible parents can get help to cover the costs for the first month of childcare when they enter work or increase their hours. Parents will now receive up to 85% of childcare costs back before their next month’s bills are due – meaning they should have money to pay one month in advance going forward.

More information can be found at this link:  Universal Credit and Childcare  

What is Wraparound Provision?

Government are also keen to increase ‘wraparound’ provision.

The ambition is for all parents of primary school aged children to access ‘wraparound’ care in their local area between 8am and 6pm.

September 2024 will be when parents expect to see an expansion in the availability of wraparound care.

Page last reviewed: 12/09/2023

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