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Childcare Choices (30 hours)

You can find a straightforward explanation of all government childcare support on the Childcare Choices website:

Childcare Choices brings all the government childcare offers together for the first time, providing a simple way of seeing which schemes are available, with easy next steps to where you can find out more.

What is available through the childcare service?

Tax-Free Childcare
Tax Free Childcare is an online payment account, topped up by the Government, which parents use solely to pay their childcare costs. For every £8 that families pay in, the Government will make a top-up payment of £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children).

30 hours free childcare
30 hours childcare for three and four year olds. This doubles the existing 15 hours currently available and could save working families up to £5,000 a year.

If you are having problems accessing your account once you have registered please read the document on the right for help (how parents can acces the 30hr childcare service).

Below are links to 2 videos promoting the 30 hours childcare and helping children be ready for nursery:

30 Hours Childcare

Nursery Ready

Where can my child go?

View the list of Day Nurseries, Playgroups, Childminders and schools who provide the 30 hours childcare.  Not all childminders are on the Family Service Directory, for a full list contact the Family Information Service:
Tel: 01642 354200


When to apply

You can apply from when your child is 2 years and 36 weeks old.

When your child turns 3

When they can get 30 hours from

Recommended time to apply

1 September - 31 December     

Spring Term - January    

15 October - 30 November    

1 January - 31 March

Summer Term - April (After Easter)

15 January - 28 February

1 April - 31 August

Autumn Term - September         

15 June - 31 July

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

You must have a valid code by the end of the month before a new term starts.

You have to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. 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.

Extending 30 hours to Children in Foster Care

Children in foster care are entitled to 30 hours free childcare giving foster families the same support as other families.

Children in foster care who are aged 3 and 4 years old will be able to receive 30 hours free childcare, if the following criteria are met:

  • Accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan; and
  • Where these is a single foster family, the foster parent is engaging in paid work outside of their role as a foster parent; or
  • Where there are two foster parents I the same fostering household, both are engaging in paid work outside of their role as a foster parent.

Accessing 30 hours will not be appropriate for every child in foster care.  This change is to enable those foster parents who are engaging in paid work outside of their role as a foster parent to access this support where it is right for the child.

The foster parent does not have to take up the full 30 hours.  There is no requirement on the type of work (which includes self-employment) or number of hours that a foster parent must work in order to access the 30 hours and there is no minimum earnings limit (although they must be engaging in paid work).

Foster parents can claim 30 hours the term after their foster child turns three and they have received an eligibility code from the local authority.

For further information read the documents on the right or contact 01642 354200.

Who to contact

Childcare Choices website

Page last reviewed: 14/05/2020