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Help with childcare costs

This page will advise parents on the help they could receive with their childcare costs. This page will provide information on funded childcare placess for 2, 3 and 4 year olds, additional help with paid for costs and advice if you are in further education.

2 year olds

Eligible families could get up 15 hours of funded childcare a week for the equivalent of 38 weeks per year (or 570 hours across the year). This is known as Think2 in Staffordshire. 

Families must meet the criteria of earning less than £16,190 per year (£15,400 for Universal Credit), or be in receipt of other criteria such as Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, child is looked after, on DLA, leaving care or other similar benefits.

See our dedicated page for the full criteria and making an online application

3 and 4 year olds

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 per year) from the term after turning 3 years old. Families do not need to meet any criteria or make an application, just speak to your childcare provider for details and to claim.

30 Hour Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

Some families who meet the earnings criteria could get an extra 15 hours of funded childcare making up to 30 hours of funded hours a week (across 38 weeks) or 1140 hours across the whole year. Applications for these extended hours are made to Childcare Choices.

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

For 3 and 4 year olds claiming the universal 15 hours, 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 0.53 per hour on the 570 hours annual entitlement.

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

Disability Access Fund (DAF)

3 and 4 year claiming the universal 15 funded hours and who are in receipt of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), could be eligible for their early years setting to receive a grant payment of up to £800 to make a 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

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.

*This scheme closed in 2019 to most new applicants.

Universal Credit

Parents could  get help with your childcare costs if you are on Universal Credit. This could be:

  • claiming back up 85% of childcare  costs for children under 17 years
  • parent could receive up to
    • £646 per month for one child, or
    • up to £1108 per month for two or more children

Childcare Vouchers

This scheme is now closed to new applicants in 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 4th 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:

  • £160 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.

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. 

Do you need help?

If you need any further information, please get in contact.

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