Early Education Funding entitlement information for parents and carers

The  Early Education Funding Entitlement Handbook [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/31626/early-education-funding-entitlement-handbook-for-parents-and-carers]provides parents and carers with information about all types of Early Education Funding, including the criteria and application processes.

Changes to Early Education Funding Entitlements 2023 -2025

Starting from April 2024, existing childcare support will be expanded in phases. By September 2025, most working families with children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of funded childcare.

These phases are as follows:

  • From April 2024, eligible 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 eligible working parents of children from the age of 9 months to 3-year-olds.
  • From September 2025, eligible working parents of children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.
     
    How many hours of childcare can parents access?
    Age Eligibility Now April 2024 September 2024 September 2025
    9-23 months Eligible working families N/A N/A 15 30
    2 year olds Current 2 year old funding criteria 15 15 15 15
    2 year olds Eligible working families N/A 15 15 30
    3 and 4 year olds All 15 15 15 15
    3 and 4 year olds Eligible working families 30 30 30 30

Like the existing offer, these hours can be accessed across 38 weeks of the year (during school term time), or up to 52 weeks where the provider is offering a stretched model of delivery.

Find out more information on the GOV.UK website [http://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/04/14/how-to-apply-for-30-hours-free-childcare-and-find-out-if-youre-eligible/].

Coventry Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5451 [tel:02476975451]

Funding for 2-year-olds

Some 2-year-olds will be eligible to access up to 15 hours per week of Early Education funding if funding is taken over 38 weeks of the year. Parents may spread the funding across more weeks (if the Childcare Provider can facilitate this) by accessing fewer hours across a greater number of weeks. This model of delivery is called ‘stretched funding’ The total amount of funding an eligible 2-year-old can access is 570 hours per year, between 1 September to 31 August.

An eligible child can access a funded place the term after their second birthday.

Child’s birthday

Funding start date

1 January and 31 March

the start of the summer term following their second birthday

1 April and 31 August

the start of the autumn term following their second birthday

1 September and 31 December

the start of the spring term following their second birthday

Parents can choose to use this funding with any Early Years Provider who is registered with the Local Authority to deliver government-funded places. Childcare providers may include a childminder, nursery class, day nursery or pre-school.

The Coventry Family Information [https://cid.coventry.gov.uk/kb5/coventry/directory/family.page?familychannel=0]Directory [https://cid.coventry.gov.uk/] is a free website that contains information about Early Years Childcare providers in Coventry.

Are you eligible to access a funded place for your 2-year-old?

Parents who are interested in accessing a funded place for their 2-year-old must meet certain eligibility criteria. See if you are eligible under the national criteria. [http://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-2-year-olds] If you do not meet the national criteria, your child may be eligible to access a place under Coventry’s local criteria.

If you’re a non- UK citizen who cannot claim benefits

If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get free childcare for your 2-year-old.

You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

Proof of evidence will be required when applying and the completion of a Self-Declaration Form [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/40360/nrfp-self-declaration-form] must be submitted with the application, along with evidence of your annual household income and your Biometric Cards or Aspen Cards.

Coventry's local criteria

The child you are applying for may be eligible to access government funding for 2-year-olds if one or more of the three criteria set out below is met:

Child Protection

  • If the child is supported through a child protection plan or child in need plan. A letter from the lead Social Worker will be required as evidence.

Coventry SEND

  • Your child has a diagnosed syndrome, condition or disability that significantly affects the ability to access learning or has 12 months developmental delay in 2 or more out of the 4 areas of need. These are:
    • Communication and Interaction
    • Cognition and Learning
    • Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties
    • Sensory and/or physical needs

And

  • Your child is accessing additional services provided by health or local authority professionals.

Proof of your total annual household income, after tax and a letter from the relevant professional will need to be submitted as part of your application under this route.

Early Help support

  • Your child is accessing additional services provided by Health or Local Authority professionals

and

  • You have a total annual household income of £20,000 or less a year or less, after tax.

Proof of your total annual household income, after tax and a letter from the relevant professional will need to be submitted when applying.

If you are a full-time Higher Education Student, you may be eligible for help with your childcare costs through the Childcare Grant [https://www.gov.uk/childcare-grant].

Will my child continue to be able to access a funded 2-year-old place if my financial circumstances change?

Yes. Once your child has started a funded place, they will continue to receive funding until your child is eligible to access the universal funding entitlement for 3-&-4-year-olds.

Having checked the eligibility criteria, how do I apply for a place?

All applications must be made using our online Coventry Education Services Portal. If your child is eligible you will need to present the TYF code to your chosen Childcare Provider.

Please note: If evidence is required to support your application please complete the Self-Declaration Form [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/40360/nrfp-self-declaration-form] and attach it to your online application along with proof of evidence.

What should I do next?

If the eligibility checker shows that your child is eligible to access a place, you should:

  • Identify a childcare provider and check to make sure they deliver government-funded places.
  • Access the provider's Ofsted information [http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/]
  • Have a look at the Provider’s website to see to make sure that the models of delivery they offer meet your needs.
  • Contact the Childcare Provider to arrange a visit and explain that your child is eligible to receive 2-year-old funding.

If you require help finding a Childcare Provider, please get in touch by emailing EYCentral@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:EYCentral@coventry.gov.uk] or by calling the Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team on 024 7697 5451.

New entitlements from 2024

As part of the Spring Budget 2023 announcements, the government shared that from April 2024, subject to meeting the conditions of the offer, working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours per week of Early Education funding, up to a maximum of 570 hours per year. By September 2025, this 15-hour-per-week entitlement will increase, so that all eligible 2-year-olds will be able to access up to 30 hours per week, up to a maximum of 1140 hours per year.

Coventry Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5451 [tel:02476975451]

Funding for 3 and 4-year-olds

A child can access a Universal Entitlement place the term after their 3rd birthday.

Child’s birthday

Funding start date

1 January and 31 March

the start of the summer term following their third birthday

1 April and 31 August

the start of the autumn term following their third birthday

1 September and 31 December

the start of the spring term following their third birthday

Funding for 3 and 4-year-olds

The Universal Entitlement (up to 15 hours per week)

Every 3- and 4-year-old in England is eligible to access up to 15 hours per week of Early Education funding, where funding is taken over 38 weeks of the year. Parents may spread the funding across more weeks (if the Childcare Provider can facilitate this) by accessing fewer hours across a greater number of weeks. This model of delivery is called ‘stretched funding’ The total amount of funding a child can access under the Universal Entitlement is 570 hours per year, between 1 September to 31 August.

A child will be able to access the Universal Entitlement the term after their 3rd birthday and this funding remains in place until they take up place in a Reception Class.

Parents can choose to use this funding with any Early Years Provider who is registered with the Local Authority to deliver government-funded places. Childcare Providers may include: a Childminder, Nursery Class, Day Nursery or Pre-school.

The Coventry Family Information [https://cid.coventry.gov.uk/kb5/coventry/directory/family.page?familychannel=0]Directory [https://cid.coventry.gov.uk/] is a free website that contains information about Early Years Childcare providers in Coventry.

What should I do next?

If your child is or will shortly be, old enough to access the Universal Entitlement you should;

  • Identify a childcare provider and check to make sure they deliver government funded places.
  • Access the Providers Ofsted information [https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/]
  • Have a look at the Provider’s website to see to make sure that the models of delivery they offer meet your needs.
  • Contact the Childcare Provider to arrange a visit.

If you require help finding a Childcare Provider, please get in touch by emailing EYProviderfunding@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:EYProviderfunding@coventry.gov.uk] or by calling the Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team on 024 7697 5451.

The Extended Entitlement (up to 30 hours per week)

Subject to conditions, working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds can receive up to an additional 15 hours per week of funded early education. These additional hours are combined with the Universal Entitlement, bringing the total amount of funding your child can access, up to a maximum of 30 hours per week, if taken over 38 weeks of the year. Parents may spread the funding across more weeks (if the Childcare Provider can facilitate this) by accessing fewer hours across a greater number of weeks. The total amount of funding available is 1140 hours per year, this is made up of 570 hours Universal Entitlement and 570 hours Extended Entitlement funding.

Unlike the Universal Entitlement parent must apply for a validation code. Once a code has been given, it will be valid from the start of the following school term and must be re-confirmed every 3 months, as prompted by Her Majesty Revenue and Customs department (HMRC)

Parents can choose to use this funding with any Early Years Provider who is registered with the Local Authority to deliver government funded places. Childcare Providers may include: a Childminder, Nursery Class, Day Nursery or Pre-school.

What criteria do I have to meet?

The Extended Entitlement is aimed at supporting the children of working parents. Each parent living in the household must earn at least the minimum equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage or national living wage. For further information about eligibility please go to: https://www.gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare [https://www.gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare]

If you are a Foster Parent, you may also be eligible to claim Extended Entitlement funding for a child in your care. You (and your partner if you have one) must meet the national criteria and have received agreement from the child’s Social Worker. For further information about applying as a Foster Carer, please see information below.

How do I apply?

You should apply online to HMRC [https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/par/app/applynow] where you can check and confirm eligibility.

How to apply for 30 hours childcare and Tax-Free Childcare - YouTube video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-38fMXaGSk]

Further information:

Call HMRC [https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/childcare-service-helpline] if you need help

  • applying for Tax-Free Childcare
  • with 30 hours free childcare
  • using your childcare account

Telephone:0300 123 4097
Textphone: 0300 123 9232

What happens after I have made my application?

  • If you are successful in your application, you will be sent a code by HMRC. The code will be sent to the Gateway Account that you set up when you applied. This code must be taken to the Childcare Provider who will deliver your child’s extended entitlement hours. The Childcare Provider must validate the code before your child access the Extended Entitlement hours.
  • Talk to your Childcare Provider about how they will deliver the funded hours as each Childcare Provider delivers funded hours in a different way, you will want to make sure that the model/s they offer suits the needs of your family before you sign up with them.
  • Funded hours may be shared across more than one Childcare Provider, but no more than two providers in a day. The Extended Entitlement can be stretched across the year to include school holiday periods and longer days, if the childcare provider is able to offer this. This would also mean a reduction in the number of hours accessed per week but these hours would be delivered over a longer period. E.g. 22 hours over 51 weeks, rather than 30 hours over 38 weeks. The total amount of funded hours must not exceed 1140.
  • Importantly: You must reconfirm your eligibility code every 3 months, with HMRC. HMRC will prompt you to reconfirm via text or email. Log into your Gateway Account to reconfirm your details and eligibility.
  • It is the responsibility of the parent to reconfirm the code when prompted by HMRC or the Early Years Childcare Provider.
  • If at re-confirmation your no longer meet the Extended Entitlement criteria, your child will be able to continue to access 30 hours for a short period of time. This is known as the ‘grace period’. Once the grace period ends, if you have not reconfirmed your eligibility status, the Extended Entitlement of 15 hours will stop. However, your child will be able to continue to access the Universal Entitlement of up to15 hours per week.
  • Your child cannot start at a new place at an Early Years provision if you are already within the grace period for re-confirmation.

Foster Carers - Claiming the Extended Entitlement.

Foster Carers who work outside of their fostering responsibilities may be entitled to receive up Extended Entitlement funding for a child in their care. Subject to conditions, working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds can receive up to an additional 15 hours per week of funded early education. These additional hours are combined with the Universal Entitlement, bringing the total amount of funding your child can access, up to a maximum of 30 hours per week, if taken over 38 weeks of the year. Parents may spread the funding across more weeks (if the Childcare Provider can facilitate this) by accessing fewer hours across a greater number of weeks. The total amount of funding available is 1140 hours per year, this is made up of 570 hours Universal Entitlement and 570 hours Extended Entitlement funding.

The child's Foster Carer and allocated Social Worker will decide together, before making an application, that accessing these additional hours is consistent with the child's care plan and the Foster Carer meets the eligibility criteria to claim Extended Entitlement funding.

Please note the following:

  • Each Foster Carer living in the household must earn at least the minimum equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage or national living wage. Where there are two Parents living in the household but only one has Foster Carer responsibilities, both Parents must meet the above condition. For further clarification about earnings please go to: https://www.gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare [https://www.gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare]
  • 30 hours is the maximum number of hours that can be claimed. However, it is perfectly acceptable for the child to access fewer hours.
  • Foster Carers can choose to pay for additional hours above 30 per week if this is consistent with the child’s care plan.
  • Costs in addition to direct childcare e.g. food or nappies will not be covered by Universal or Extended Entitlement funding.
  • Coventry’s Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team will generate Extended Entitlement codes for all eligible children who are described as ‘Looked After’ by Coventry City Council. This includes children who have a Coventry address or attend a Coventry childcare setting.

Foster Carers must apply within the time frames stated in the 30-hour process. This is;

  • Before 31 December for a January start date
  • Before 31 March for an April start date
  • Before 31 August for a September start date.
  • All applications must be re-confirmed every three months by your social worker and Coventry Business Sufficiency and Funding Team, to ensure your continued eligibility. Failure to reconfirm will result in the extended hour's provision being withdrawn, in line with the terms and conditions of the funding stream

Special Guardianship Order (SGO)

Once a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is granted, the Carer then has the same rights to benefits and tax credits as a child’s birth parent. All Foster Carers who are granted Special Guardianship Order are then required to apply for Extended Entitlement funding via the Childcare Choices website, [https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/]

For further information please see the guidance notes for 30 hours free childcare for fostered children.

Extended Entitlement (30 hours) - Frequently asked questions

How many weeks of the year can I claim Extended Entitlement funding?

Eligible children are entitled to receive up to 30 hours per week funding. This assumes that the child accesses 30 hours per week, up to a maximum of 38 weeks per year. Parents can choose to stretch this funding over more than 38 weeks of the year to better meet their childcare needs. For example a child may access 22 hours per week over 52 weeks, or 23 ¾ hours over 48 weeks. Not all Childcare Providers will be able to offer the flexibility of the ‘stretch’ model. Therefore, you are advised to discuss this with them prior to booking a place.

When can I check if I am eligible?

You can apply online, any time after your child reaches the age of 2 years and 39 weeks. Please check to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria before applying. Your child will not be able to start their funded place until the term after their 3rd birthday or the start of the term after your application was approved, whichever comes first.

Parents must apply within the time frames stated in the 30-hour process.

  • 31 December for a January start date
  • 31 March for an April start date
  • 31 August for a September start date.

Does my Childcare Provider have to offer Extended Entitlement Funding?

No. It is the choice of the Childcare Provider whether they offer the Extended Entitlement. They can choose to offer some or all the hours. Parents are encouraged to shop around to find a provision that meets the needs of their family.

Who can offer Extended Entitlement Funding?

Day-nurseries, Childminders, Preschools, School-based provision such as Nursery Classes and Out of School Clubs that are registered with Ofsted can deliver funded places if they are register with the Local Authority.

Parents can split their funding entitlement hours between multiple providers, as long as a child does not access more than two sites in one day. For example, a child may attend a breakfast club based on the school site in the morning, followed by Nursery Class and then move to a childminder at lunchtime. This would be classified as two sites because the Breakfast Cub and Nursery Class are both on the school site.

My Childcare Provider only offers morning or afternoon places. How can they deliver the Extended Entitlement?

We encourage Childcare Providers to work in partnership to offer Extended Entitlement hours. For example, sessional providers, such as Pre-school and some Nursery Classes work with other providers to offer wraparound care to meet the needs of working Parents, claiming Extended Entitlement funding.

Do Parents have to take up the full Extended Entitlement?

No. It is the parents’ choice whether their child access all or part of this funding. For example a Parent may choose to only access 25 hours per week over 38 weeks.

Can Childcare Providers request additional payments?

Childcare Providers can charge for meals, nappies, and other discretionary items such as trips and additional teaching activities for example, learning a musical instrument. However, parents must be given the choice to be able to ‘opt out’ of these charges. The Childcare Provider should have a policy in place which explains alternative options for Parents who opt out of the additional services charge. Where a child is accessing a funded place, the Childcare Provider cannot impose additional payments as a condition of offering a funded place. However, they may offer a delivery model which wraps ‘privately paid-for hour’ around funded hours. We recommend checking with your chosen Childcare Provider for full details of any additional costs which might be incurred before registering with them.

Combination delivery model example In this example Parents would be contracted to pay for 2 hours per day. To help a meet these childcare costs a Parent could sign up to Tax-Free Childcare.

Session

Privately Paid for hours

Funded hours

Privately Paid for hours

8:00 - 4:00pm

8:00am - 9:00am

9:00am - 3:00pm

(total of 6 hours per day)

3:00pm - 4:00pm

How will my Childcare Provider know if my child is eligible?

Parents need to apply online and will be given a unique reference code. This reference code must be given to the Childcare Provider, along with their National Insurance number and child’s date of birth. The childcare provider should then validate the code prior to offering an extended hours place.

What if my chosen Childcare Provider is full or unable to offer the extra hours that I need?

Many Childcare Providers in Coventry work in close partnerships with other providers in their local area, to deliver Extended Entitlement funding. Therefore, they may be able to signpost you to other local provision which can meet your needs. The Family Information Service [https://cid.coventry.gov.uk/kb5/coventry/directory/family.page?familychannel=0] will also be able to provide details of other childcare provision available in Coventry.

Once I have received my eligibility code, will the Extended Entitlement funding remain in place for the whole year?

No. Parents will need to reconfirm their code every 3 months. HMRC will make contact by email or text message to remind you to reconfirm. Failure to reconfirm, will place you in a ‘grace period’, this means that your child may continue to access 30 hours for a short period of time. However, once the grace period ends, if you have not reconfirmed your eligibility status, the Extended Entitlement of 15 hours will stop. From this point forward your child will only be able to access the Universal Entitlement of up to15 hours per week. A child cannot take up an Extended Entitlement place with a new Childcare Provider during a ‘grace period’.

Will my child be able to access Universal Entitlement funding if I lose eligibility to claim Extended Entitlement funding?

Every 3-and-4-year-olds in England, is entitled to Universal Entitlement funding of 15 hours per week, over no less than 38 weeks. Therefore if you lose eligibility to the extended hours funding, the Universal Entitlement funding will continue.

What happens when the child starts School Reception Class?

State funded school or academy

Once a child becomes a registered Reception Class pupil in a state funded, voluntary aided School, Free School, or Academy, they are no longer eligible to receive Extended Entitlement funding, in any capacity. For example; You cannot continue to claim this funding where the child Reception Class place does not start their School place until later in September or where they are on a reduced Reception Class timetable and attend another provision during the hours they are not in school.

Deferred Reception Class place

Where Parents decide to defer the start of a child’s School Reception Class place to later in the school year, e.g. January or April, or where the place is deferred until the start of the following academic year, Parents can continue to claim Extended Entitlement funding until the term in which the child turns 5. In all scenarios a child will no longer be eligible to access Early Entitlement funding from the term following their 5th birthday. At this point a child must legally have accessed a school place. The exception to this is where Parents have informed the Local Authority that a child will be home-schooled.

Private School

Where a child takes up a place at an independent Private, fee-paying School, Parents can continue to claim Extended Entitlement funding until the term in which the child turns 5. In all scenarios a child will no longer be eligible to access Early Entitlement funding from the term following their 5th birthday. From this point forward, Parents will be responsible for meeting the full costs of private education.

Coventry Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5451 [tel:02476975451]

Additional funding for 3-and-4-year-olds - Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

Early Years Childcare Providers who deliver Government funded places for 3-and-4-year-olds accessing the Universal Entitlement (15 hours), can claim additional funding (EYPP) to support them in providing enhanced experiences for children who live within families who are economically disadvantaged.

EYPP funding can be used by the Childcare Provider to enhance your child’s educational experiences. E.g. pay for an offsite trip, provide staff training which impacts on the quality and depth of experience children will receive or to purchase a specific piece of equipment.

EYPP is an hourly rate which is paid to the Childcare Provider, in addition to the base rate they receive for all 3-and-4-year-olds. Not all 3-and-4-year-olds will be eligible to receive EYPP, eligibility is dependant on Parents meeting a specific economic criteria.

More information about EYPP eligibility criteria [https://www.gov.uk/get-extra-early-years-funding].

Your Childcare Provider can only claim EYPP if you have completed the relevant section of the Parent Funding Agreement. This is a document that you will be asked to sign so that the Childcare Provider can claim your child’s funding from the Local Authority. Please ensure you complete the EYPP section of this agreement.

If you have any questions about your child’s eligibility to EYPP please speak to your Childcare Provider or email the Early Years Business, Sufficiency and Funding team at  EYProviderfunding@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:EYProviderfunding@coventry.gov.uk].

Coventry Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5451 [tel:02476975451]

What do I do if I have a concern about my Early Education funded place?

If a parent or carer is unhappy with the way an Early Years provider is delivering their child’s Early Education funded place, the provider’s complaint procedure should be followed in the first instance. If there is still dissatisfaction with the outcome of the complaint, parents should complete our online Early Education funding place - report a concern form [https://myaccount.coventry.gov.uk/service/Early_Education_funded_place___report_a_concern].

If you are unable to complete the online form, please contact the Early Year team where your concern will be logged and passed on to the relevant officer.

Coventry Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5451 [tel:02476975451]

Disability Access Funding (DAF) - Extra funding for children with SEND

What is Disability Access Funding (DAF)?

Disability Access Funding (DAF) is an additional annual payment that is made directly to your child’s Early Year’s Childcare Provider.  It is for eligible children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).  Disability Access Funding aims to help Childcare Providers make reasonable adjustments which support children with SEND to access their Early Education Entitlement. 

Childcare Providers may use the funding to;

  • access specialist training for staff.
  • purchase specific resources.
  • fund additional sessions etc. 

Which children are eligible to receive DAF?

Eligible children will be;

  • in receipt of the Universal Entitlement (15 hours) for 3-and-4-year-olds

and

If you think your Childcare Provider may be able to claim DAF for your child, please let them know as soon as possible so they can approach the Local Authority to claim this funding.

Some Parents do not realise they can claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Where DLA is awarded to a child, Parents receive extra income into the household, which can make a huge difference.  To see if your child might be eligible for DLA, follow the link; Can I claim DLA for my child? [https://contact.org.uk/help-for-families/information-advice-services/benefits-financial-help/benefits-and-tax-credits/disability-living-allowance/]

If you would like more information about DAF, please see our handy guide:

 A Parent Guide to Disability Access Funding (DAF) [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/36488/a-parent-guide-to-disability-access-funding-daf-]

Coventry Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5451 [tel:02476975451]

Help paying for childcare costs

What is Tax Free Childcare?

Tax-Free Childcare is a government initiative which helps Parents to pay for childcare costs.  You can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).

If you get Tax-Free Childcare, you’ll set up an online childcare account for your child. For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will pay in £2 to use to pay your provider.

You can get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare if you’re eligible for both.

Once you have set up your account you will need to reconfirm you are still eligible for Tax-Free Childcare using your childcare service account.  This reconfirmation must be completed every 3 months.  It's easy to do; you just tick a box to confirm that your details haven't changed. You'll be reminded to do this, 4 weeks before the reconfirmation deadline.

How much you pay into your Tax-Free Childcare account, and when, is up to you. You can make one-off payments (for example, by debit card) or set-up a standing order to make regular payments into your Tax-Free Childcare account.

You can pay up to 10 childcare providers from each Tax-Free Childcare account. You'll need to make a separate payment for each eligible child.

Other people, such as family members and employers, can also pay into your Tax-Free Childcare account.

When you use your Tax-Free Childcare account to pay a childcare provider, it can take 2-3 working days for your money to reach them.

Who is eligible?

Find out if you are eligible for a Tax-Free Childcare account [https://www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare].

You can use the Childcare Calculator [https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator] to work out if you'll be better off with Tax Free Childcare, before you apply and stop your Tax Credits, Universal Credit or Childcare Vouchers.

You can't apply for Tax-Free Childcare for a child who is:

  • your foster child
  • living away from your home for 6 months or more
  • in a young offenders' institution or secure children's home or training centre
  • being looked after by a local authority, unless its short-term respite care

If you're adopting a child, you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare when a court has made an adoption order.

Tax Free Childcare can used to pay for costs such as;

  • childcare with regulated (approved or Ofsted registered) childcare providers, for example, Day Nurseries, Pre-schools, Childminders, Play Schemes, Before, Afterschool and Holiday Clubs and School-based provision.
  • advance payments, block bookings and individual sessions
  • the costs of employing a nanny or extra childcare if using a workplace nursery

If your Childcare Provider is not registered or approved, HMRC will tell you.  When they do, you'll no longer be able to pay that, particular, Childcare Provider using your Tax-Free Childcare account.

You can continue to make payments into your Tax Free Childcare account and choose to pay a different Childcare Provider that has signed up to Tax-Free Childcare.

Apply for Tax Free Childcare

Apply online for Tax-Free Childcare [https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-tax-free-childcare]

If you apply for Tax-Free Childcare and someone else already gets 30 hours free childcare for that child, their 30 hours will stop at the end of the next term. You will be eligible for 30 hours free childcare instead.

Closing your Tax-Free Childcare account

If you are no longer eligible for Tax Free Childcare, you can still add money to your account, but you won't receive any government contributions. You can still use the balance in your Tax-Free Childcare account to pay for childcare.

If you no longer want to use your Tax-Free Childcare account, you can withdraw your money. If you do, for every £8 you take out the UK government will also take back its £2 contribution.

Extra support

Help with childcare costs if you claim Universal Credit

If you are working and in receipt of Universal Credit, you can get help with childcare costs to help with childcare whilst you are in work.  This includes holiday clubs, after-school and breakfast clubs. If you live with a partner, you both need to be working, unless your partner cannot look after your children.

How it works

  1. You pay the childcare provider for the childcare they have provided.
  2. You provide evidence of these costs to Universal Credit
  3. Universal Credit reimburse you up to 85% of the cost of these fees.

Please note: You will only get the money back with Universal Credit after the childcare happens.

Universal Credit childcare costs - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) [https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-childcare-costs]

Coventry Business, Sufficiency and Funding Team

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5451 [tel:02476975451]