The government is offering extended free childcare across England this year. If you are currently employed, you may be able to receive 30 hours free childcare each week instead of 15.
Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply below.
What should I do if I am not satisfied that my child has received their Free Early Education entitlement in the correct way?
If you are a parent of a child aged three or four, you can receive 570 hours of government funded childcare each year. This is 15 hours per week (term time only).
From September 2017, if you are currently employed, you could receive an extra 570 hours per child, each year. This means you could receive a total of 1,140 hours of free childcare per year for each child aged three or four years. This is 30 hours per week (term time only).
To receive the 30 hours free childcare you must be in work and expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours at national minimum or living wage in the next three months. The table below shows the expected earnings:
25 or over
21 to 24
This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on a zero hours contract.
You can also receive the 30 hours free childcare if you or your partner (where relevant) meet the criteria:
Parents may be able to use their free early education across the entire year, this is called the 'Stretched Offer'.
The annual Free early education entitlement per child starts from the Autumn Term (so should be calculated from 1 September to 31 August).
The stretched offer is for children who take up their funded entitlement and want to spread their free hours across more of the year. The ‘Stretched Offer’ is not to be confused with spreading a parent’s bill over 12 equal monthly payments, as the ‘Stretched Offer’ relates only to Free early education, not to any hours paid for.
Parents should discuss the hours they would like to take with their childcare provider as not all providers offer the ‘Stretched Offer’.
Some of the stretched offer models mean the child will not be able to access the full funded entitlement across the year. Parents must be made aware before they agree to a stretched offer that they will not receive their full entitlement, using some of the models above they may lose up to 3 minutes per termly week of their full entitlement.
Some providers may charge for meals, snacks or optional extras as these may not always be included within the funded entitlement. If you take more than your free early education hours there will be a charge from the provider for these additional hours. Please check with your provider for full details of any additional charges.
You cannot receive the additional 15 hours of free childcare if you or your partner (where relevant):
This means benefits cannot be claimed.
To apply for the additional 15 hours please go to the following website and click ‘apply now’ under the 30 hours section:
Childcare Choices (external website)
Your application will be reviewed and if approved, you will receive a voucher code for each of your children.
Take this to your childcare provider to start receiving the additional 15 hours of free childcare from September 2017.
To make sure you continue to be eligible to receive the additional 15 hours childcare, you must access your account at the Childcare Choices website every three months and either update your information, or confirm that your information has not changed:
Childcare Choices (external website)
You will still be entitled to the universal 15 hours free childcare, however if you stop meeting the required conditions for the the additional 15 hours you will be given a ‘grace period’.
During this period you will continue to receive the full 30 hours free childcare to give you time to find employment so you can meet the conditions again.
You should discuss how many hours your childcare provider can offer you. This can be anything up to the 30 hours.
If they are unable to offer you the full 30 hours, you can choose to split the hours between more than one childcare provider.
Your childcare provider will need to contact us to validate the voucher code you are given.
This will be a quick and simple process meaning it will be easy for you to book a place or access additional hours with your childcare provider.
If you are no longer able to receive the additional 15 hours free childcare, we will inform your childcare provider.
In the first instance, it is usually best if you discuss your concerns with your childcare provider or the person in charge. If you are a parent or carer and cannot resolve your concern through discussion, you can make a formal complaint to the provider. All providers should have a complaints procedure in place that is published and accessible for parents, who are not satisfied their child has received their free entitlement in the correct way, as set out in the 'East Riding of Yorkshire Council Provider Agreement for free early education and childcare for two-three and four-year-olds'.
For a summary of the terms of the agreement please see section 5 of the Parental Agreement, which your childcare provider should have asked you to complete.
Parental Agreement (pdf 60kb opens in new window)
If you are unable to resolve your concern directly with the provider, you can follow the Council's complaints procedure. Childcare providers should make parents aware that they can take their complaint to the council.
If you wish to take your complaint to the council you should contact the Families' Information Service Hub (FISH) on (01482) 396469 to give the details of your complaint. The complaint will then be passed onto an officer in the Early Years Service.
The officer will contact both yourself and the childcare provider within 10 working days to gather full details and any documentary evidence that may be required, (such as copies of invoices or the signed parental agreement and declaration form).
The council will reply in writing to both the parent and childcare provider, no later than 10 working days after gathering all relevant information, setting out their assessment of the situation and stating whether the actions of the provider are in accordance with the provider agreement.
If you are not satisfied with the way in which your complaint has been dealt with by the Local Authority or believe the Local Authority has acted unreasonably, you can make a complaint to the Local Authority Ombudsman. These complaints will only be considered when the local complaints procedure has been exhausted