Shropshire Council

Entitlement for 30 hours free childcare


Parents with children who will be aged three by the spring term should register for a 30 hours funded place by the end of November.

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which administers the Childcare Choices website and helpline for 30 hours and tax free childcare registration, has advised that new parents must register by 30 November to guarantee an eligibility code. Without this code, parents won’t be able to receive funding for the additional entitlement.

The absolute deadline for receiving an eligibility code is 31 December but this can take a few days. Anyone missing this deadline may not be eligible for a 30 hours place for their child. It is advisable to register as early as possible.

Parents of children already on the scheme are reminded three times that they must reconfirm their eligibility every three months from the date of receiving their code. If they don’t do this they will automatically be put into their 'grace period' (the duration of the following half term) before losing their funding. If a child is new to a setting, or has already attended the current setting but is making a claim for extended hours for the first time, then unfortunately the grace period won't apply. The grace period only applies when settings have previously claimed for extended hours for a particular child.

Extended Free Entitlement (30 Hours) – HELPLINE for parents and childcare providers: Customer Interaction Centre Tel. 0300 123 4097

30 hour eligibility code information table

Term starting funding

 New application

Existing application

Final acceptance date

Summer term

No later than 28 February

Must be renewed by the applicants validity end date 

 31 March

Autumn term

No later than 31 July

Must be renewed by the applicants validity end date

 31 August

Spring term

No later than 30 November

Must be renewed by the applicants validity end date

 31 December

Are you a working parent looking for help with childcare costs?

In September 2017 the government introduced new childcare initiatives that include the 30 hours extended entitlement. This means that if you're working and meet the criteria you could be entitled to an extra 15 hours of free early education/childcare for your three or four year old.

If you think you may be eligible, you must apply through the Digital Childcare Service (not through the local authority or your childcare provider).

What help can you get to reduce your childcare bill, and make paying easier?

If you're a working parent with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children), you can open an online account to pay for registered childcare. You can use a 'childcare calculator' to find out if you'll be eligible, and how much you could receive.

Registered childcare providers are able to sign up to receive payments from parents using tax-free childcare. This means they will be part of a digital tool that enables you to find out which providers are able to receive payments through this scheme.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, both parents must be working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family). Each parent/or lone parent needs to be earning on average:

  • A weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW)
  • Less than £100,000 per year

Take a look at the Childcare Choices website for full details regarding the eligibility criteria.

If you're eligible, you'll receive a confirmation letter containing a unique reference code.  Take this letter to your childcare provider, who will then use the code to claim your 30 hours free childcare.

Where and when can my child get the additional free hours?

If you're eligible you'll be able to access the additional free childcare with OfSTED-registered childminders, schools, pre-schools, full daycare nurseries and out-of-school clubs, who have an OfSTED judgement of ‘requires improvement’, ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. Your provider must have confirmed their intention to provide funded places with us. You'll be able to use the additional free childcare with one or two (but not more than two) childcare providers, and choose to use the additional hours during term time only, include before- and after-school hours, or spread the 30 hours across the year, up to a maximum of ten hours per day.

Discuss the hours you'd ideally like your child to attend with your provider, and remember to ask about their charging policy for any additional hours your child may use over and above the free entitlement or services. Please be aware that not all childcare providers will be able to offer the free hours.

When will my child be eligible?

A child is entitled to the 30 hours additional free childcare from the term after their third birthday, or from the term after their family becomes eligible. Parents need to check to see if they're eligible the term before the funding starts for the additional hours.

Child’s birthday falls between...

When you can claim...

1 January and 31 March

From the start of the summer term following their third birthday

1 April and 31 March

From the start of the autumn term following their third birthday

1 September and 31 December

From the start of the spring term following their third birthday

Because your employment circumstances may change from time to time, you'll receive a prompt every three months from HMRC to reconfirm your details so that your eligibility can be re-assessed.