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How does 30 hours free childcare work?
The 30 hours free childcare scheme is currently for working parents with children aged three and four years-old.
It allows parents to access childcare and early education services for 30 hours per week, for 38 weeks of the year (during term time). This totals 1,140 hours over the course of a year, reducing the amount families would spend on nursery or childminder costs by a considerable amount.
How to apply for 30 hours free childcare
To claim 30 hours free childcare, you must first set up a childcare account on the government’s website.
Before you start the set-up, make sure you have your National Insurance number ready. If you are self-employed, you need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
You will need details of one or more of the following:
- Your UK passport
- Tax credits
- P60 or recent payslip
Have your mobile phone nearby or access to a landline.
If you apply online for 30 hours free childcare, you will also find out if you can get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time. Please see Tax-Free Childcare: What is it and how does it work? For more information.
If you are eligible, a childcare account will be set up and you will be given a code for the 30 hours free childcare, which you must give to your provider.
Keep in mind that you have to confirm your eligibility and details every three months, otherwise the code will expire.
Pay particular attention to this if you apply for the scheme more than three months before the term starts, as you will have to reconfirm your eligibility to ensure your code is still valid.
If you do not fulfil the above criteria and are not eligible for 30 hours free childcare, you can get 15 hours free childcare instead, which all three and four-year-olds, and some two-year-olds are entitled to. For more information, click here.