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Free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds

All 3 and 4-year-old children in Derbyshire are entitled to universal early years entitlement funding and can receive up to 15 hours a week over 38 weeks of the year.


Families can take fewer hours per week over more weeks of the year. This is often called stretched funding. You should check with individual providers to find out if they're able to do this.

Eligible families can also receive an additional 15 hours early years entitlement funding totalling 30 hours per week.

Early education funding only applies until a child either starts school in reception, (after the child's fourth birthday) or reaches compulsory school age (the term following the child's fifth birthday).

You can find more information and guidance on how to defer a child's school place.

Check what help you could get with childcare costs.

You can find information on other schemes to support parents and carers with childcare at Childcare Choices.

Eligibility for 30 hours funded childcare

If your child was born between:

  • 1 January and 31 March you can start a funded place from 1 April following their third birthday
  • 1 April and 31 August you can start a funded place from 1 September following their third birthday
  • 1 September and 31 December you can start a funded place from 1 January following their third birthday

Applying

Universal funding

To get the universal funding you'll need to choose a childcare provider and discuss your requirements and the current availability with them.

When you've chosen a childcare provider, you'll be asked to complete any necessary forms. The childcare provider will notify us and submit a claim for funding on your behalf.

The childcare provider will receive the funding directly.

30 hours extended entitlement funding

As well as the universal offer of 15 hours, eligible working families can get up to 30 hours of funded childcare a week. The additional childcare aims to help working families by reducing the cost of childcare and will support more parents into work or to work more hours if they want to.

To receive the additional funding families must meet the eligibility criteria.

Check your eligibility and apply for 30 hours funding

Even if you're not entitled to the 30 hours extended entitlement your child will still be entitled to the universal 15 hours of funded childcare.

If eligible you'll be given an 11-digit eligibility code.

You can start claiming a 30 hours place from the term after you receive the code if your child is age eligible.

Take the code, your National Insurance number and your child's date of birth to your chosen childcare provider so they can check the code is valid.

Providers will need to verify the code before your child takes up their place, so make sure you to apply in good time.

You can discuss your requirements with your childcare provider and book your child a place.

About every 3 months you'll have to reconfirm your details with HMRC to make sure you're still eligible for the 30 hours funded childcare. If you don't do this, you may lose the funding.

You should also be aware that reconfirmation periods may fall in line with older siblings. It's important that you check the end date in your childcare account. HMRC should remind you when your reconfirmation date is due.

Please remember to check your junk email folder for reminders from HMRC.

The HMRC childcare service helpline can provide support when applying for the 30 hours extended funding tel: 0300 123 4097.

If you have any other queries, please email: enquiries.30hours@derbyshire.gov.uk

Foster carers - 30 hours extended entitlement funding

Foster carers of 3 and 4-year-olds who are engaged in paid work outside of their role as foster carer may be entitled to up to 30 hours of childcare for 38 weeks of the year, or fewer hours over more weeks.

This is an additional 15 hours of childcare on top of the 15 hours universal entitlement for all 3 and 4-year-olds.

Foster carers do not apply to HMRC but must apply to us.

Find out more information, eligibility criteria and how to apply for 30 hours funded childcare for foster carers or email: enquiries.30hours@derbyshire.gov.uk

Childcare providers

We know that everyone's circumstances are different, so we work closely with childcare providers to encourage them to offer the funded hours flexibly to meet the needs of working parents.

Where available, parents may choose to 'stretch' their funded hours. This means taking fewer hours per week but over more weeks of the year.

Providers can choose to offer universal and extended entitlement funded places, but don't have to.

Not all providers will be able to offer the full 30 hours per week or the pattern of provision that you require.

You'll need to discuss the delivery models your provider offers and your own individual requirements with your chosen childcare provider. You can split your entitlement across more than one provider if it's not over more than 2 sites in one day.

The government funding is intended to cover the cost to deliver 15 or 30 hours a week of high quality, flexible childcare which meets the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (EYFS). Providers may make a reasonable charge for additional services and some consumables like meals, snacks, nappies, sun cream, trips and musical tuition, so you may have to pay extra for these.

You should discuss the options available with your chosen provider.

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

All early years providers must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework. This includes having arrangements in place to identify and support disabled children and children who have, or may have, SEND and medical conditions.

We offer support to early years and childcare providers in Derbyshire, to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities. You can get more information at Derbyshire Local Offer or email: earlyyears.senhelpline@derbyshire.gov.uk