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Paying for childcare

The cost of childcare can seem daunting but there are a number of schemes available to parents and carers to help with childcare costs.


Parents and carers must choose the scheme that is best suited to their personal circumstances. It's not possible to access more than one scheme, but help is available.

Check your eligibility and find out which of the schemes works best for your family at Childcare Choices.

Free entitlement for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds

All 3 and 4-year-old children and around 40% of all 2-year-olds are entitled to up to 15 hours a week free early education. This can reduce a families' childcare bill and support parents and carers to work or train to work.

Find out more about free education and childcare for 2-year-oldsand apply for free early years funding for 2-year-olds.

Many working families may also be entitled to an additional 15 hours (30 hours in total) of funded early years entitlement for their 3 or 4-year-old, which could reduce the cost of childcare further.

Tax-free childcare

Families who are in work and who pay for Ofsted registered childcare may be eligible for the tax-free childcare scheme. Families pay for their childcare through an online government account. For every 80p paid into this account the government will pay in an additional 20p.

Apply for tax-free childcare.

Tax-free childcare for providers

As a provider you'll only be able to receive tax-free childcare payments from your parents if you've signed up for tax-free childcare.

Parents use an online childcare account to pay you directly for childcare. Payments work just as they do through an online bank account. Each payment is accompanied by a reference number for each child, so you can identify their payments.

Approximately every 3 months, parents should confirm the information they entered on their application is up to date.

Over time, tax-free childcare will replace childcare vouchers.

You can find information and materials in Childcare Choices communications toolkit.

Tax credits for childcare

The childcare element of Working Tax Credit can help cover up to 70% of the cost of childcare.

Check what help you could get with childcare.

Universal Credit

Parents and carers who qualify for Universal Credit may be able to claim up to 85% of their childcare costs each month.

Find out more about Universal Credit and childcare.

Early Years Pupil Premium

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and Deprivation Funding is paid to providers to support identified needs of children and improve their outcomes.

Get extra funding for your early years provider.

EYPP and Deprivation Funding for providers

All providers contracted to deliver early years funded places for 3 and 4-year-olds in Derbyshire that have eligible children are able to receive additional funding called Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and Deprivation Funding. This additional funding is to help improve outcomes for disadvantaged 3 and 4-year-old children by supporting their development and learning.

To claim this additional funding you must be contracted with us to offer early years entitlement funded places. Find out more about the contracting process.

You should input details provided by the parent or carer from the FE1 form onto our provider portal. You need to use EYPP and Deprivation Funding effectively with a clear plan for using the additional funding to benefit and improve outcomes for identified children, thereby diminishing the difference in outcomes between groups of children. You'll be asked to complete a form which includes providing evidence of how this additional funding has been used and what impact this has had on outcomes for individual children.

You need to evidence to Ofsted how you've spent this additional funding.

You can claim EYPP and Deprivation Funding through either the economic or the non-economic route.

To claim through the economic route, parents must supply their details on the FE1 parent and carer declaration form which you then enter onto the 'parent details tab' on the provider portal.

Families also qualify via the non-economic route where a child has left care through adoption, special guardianship, or a child arrangement order. You must ask for a copy of the relevant order. Forward this document to the early years sufficiency service, along with your setting's details, stating that this is evidence for EYPP and Deprivation Funding, email enquiries.sufficiency@derbyshire.gov.uk

Disability Access Funding

Where a 3 or 4-year-old child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and is taking up an early years entitlement funded place, they could be eligible for Disability Access Funding (DAF).

Get extra funding for your early years provider.

If your child attends more than one provider, you'll need to nominate which one you wish to receive the DAF.

DAF for providers

DAF is paid to the child's early years setting as a fixed annual rate of £615 per eligible child. The Disability Access Fund declaration section of the FE1 parent and carer declaration form should be completed by the parent if their child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. A copy of the letter stating a child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance should be retained by you as evidence, and made available upon request to us at compliance checks. You should notify us through the provider portal when submitting data if you wish to claim DAF for a child.

For further information and queries, please email the relevant email address for your type of setting:

Support whilst studying

The Care to Learn scheme can help parents and carers whilst they study.

Other help

If you have financial concerns, our welfare benefits information and advice team offers a range of services, including free benefits checks.

Trained staff can advise you about welfare benefits and tax credits and put you in touch with a wide range of organisations which can help with issues like housing, tax and loans.