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Help with childcare costs

This page contains advice for parents on the help with childcare costs. It will provide information on funded childcare places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds, eligibility, additional help with paid for costs, and if you are in further education.

Printable leaflet version below. 

Funded childcare places (3 MB)

Funded hours for 2 year olds - Working Families Entitlement - NEW from April 2024

 Eligible working parents could receive up to 15 hours of funded childcare for 38 weeks a year (or up 570 hours stretched over more weeks of the year. Parents can apply from January 2024.

THINK2 - Funded hours for 2 year olds - Families Receiving Additional Government Support 

Eligible families who receive some government support through benefit schemes, could get up to 15 hours of funded childcare a week for the equivalent of 38 weeks a year (or 570 hours stretched across the year). In Staffordshire this is known as Think2.

See if you are eligible and to make an application please visit - Think 2 - Funded places for 2 year olds.

Funded hours for 3 and 4 year olds

Universal 15 hours - All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled for up to 15 hours a week of funded childcare for the equivalent of 38 weeks a year (or 570 hours stretched over more weeks of the year) from the term after turning 3 years old.

Families just speak to your childcare provider for details and to claim.

30 hours - Extended funded hours for working families -  who meet the earnings criteria could get a further 15 hours of funded childcare making up to 30 funded hours of childcare a week (across 38 weeks) or 1140 hours stretched across more weeks of the whole year.

Eligibility and applications for these extended hours are made to Childcare Choices.

Expansion of Funded Entitlements from April 2024

The government are expanding the funded offer for working families that will mean by Sept 2025 many children from 9 months old will be entitled to 30 hours of funded childcare.

The roll out starts for 2 year olds accessing 15 hours from April 2024. Check out what we know so far.


Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

For 3 and 4 year olds claiming the universal 15 hours of funding, some families could be eligible for additional support; to help your child further their education, or support, in an early years setting. This is an extra 0.66 per hour on the 570 hours annual entitlement.

Parents should speak to their childcare settings about eligibility and making an application. Check out the criteria and how EYPP could help your child's education.


Disability Access Fund (DAF)

3 and 4 year olds claiming the universal 15 funded hours and who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), could be eligible for their early years setting to receive a grant payment of up to £859 to make reasonable adjustments in the setting to improve access to the funded hours.

Find out more and speak to your early years setting about applying.

Additional Help with Childcare Costs

Find out more about additional help with childcare costs and what is best for your family through the easy to use website: Childcare Choices.

Information is available for:

Parents will also be able to use an online calculator that can help families decide what scheme they could be eligible for and what is best for them regarding savings on childcare costs.


Tax Free Childcare 

The government has rolled out the Tax Free Childcare scheme. Working families can make savings on childcare costs they must pay for. 

Parents can apply online through Childcare Choices and can save up to £2000 per year, per child, or up to £4000 per year for a disabled child.

Every £8 you pay in, the government will top it up with an extra £2.00.  Find out more.


Working Tax Credits

This scheme closed in 2019 to new applicants.

Families who claim Working Tax Credits could receive additional help with their childcare costs. This could be for up to:

  • £122.50 per week for 1 child or
  • £210 per week for 2 or more children.


Universal Credit

Parents with low incomes could  get help with your childcare costs if you are on Universal Credit. From 28th June 2023 this could mean:

  • claiming back up 85% of childcare  costs for children under 17 years
  • parents could receive up to
    • up to £950.92 per month for one child, or
    • up to £1630.15 per month for two or more children

Childcare Vouchers

This scheme is closed to new applicants from October 2018.

Childcare Vouchers is a scheme that employees pay into via their employer, and it is deducted from the salary. You do not pay tax or national insurance on the money paid into the scheme as this will be the saving.

Although the scheme is closed employees who were paying into a Childcare Vouchers before 4 October 2018 can continue with their scheme if it is still running.

Other options available instead of Childcare Vouchers is Tax Free Childcare.


Help while you study

Parents under 20

Are you a parent aged under 20 years and studying for a publicly funded course at sixth form or college? Then you might get help with the costs of registered childcare through the Care to Learn Scheme where you could get up to:

  • £180 per child per week if you live outside London

Parents can find more about eligibility and how to apply online

Learner Support

Are you are a parent aged 19 years or over and studying for an NVQ, BTEC or PGCE and facing financial hardship, you could get help with childcare costs through Learner Support.

You would apply for this through your education provider i.e. college. How much you get depends on your circumstances.

Depending on your circumstances, you could get:

  • a loan
  • a grant you do not have to pay back
  • paid to someone else, for example an Ofsted-registered childcare provider

Childcare Grant

If you a parent in full time higher education, you can apply for help with childcare costs through the Childcare Grant scheme. You could get up to 85% of your costs paid and you won't have to pay it back and it will be a top up of your student finance award.

Further information is available for the childcare grant and how to apply to Student Finance England. 

The maximum you can get is:

  • up to £188.90 a week for 1 child

  • up to £323.85 a week for 2 or more children

Do you need help?

If you need any further information, please contact us.

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