15 hours and 30 hours 'free' childcare

We know that it can be confusing working out what funding your child is entitled to so we are here to help you every step of the way.


Here’s an overview of the facts about funding – give us a call on 0114 213 2050 if you have any more queries or to book a look round visit.

What is 15 hours childcare for 3–5 year olds?

All children over the age of 3 are entitled to 15 hours funded childcare regardless of your employment status. This is also known as universal funding. This means a child can attend nursery free of charge for 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. If both parents are working for at least 16 hours per week, or one parent in a single parent household, and parents income is by £100,000 per year and the children will also be entitled to the extended 30 hours funding.

What is ‘30 hours funded childcare’?

30 hours weekly funded (also known as free) childcare is available to families if both parents are working for at least 16 hours per week, or one parent in a single household, and a parents income is below £100,000 per year.*

If you’re eligible, it means your child can use their funding for 22 hours per week all year round, or for 30 hours a week school term time for the 38 weeks of the year. 30 hours childcare kicks in from the term after your little ones third birthday. For example, if your child turns three in May, they will be entitled to their 30 hours funding from September. School term times are January, April and September.

*You may also be eligible to receive the funding if you are getting parental leave, sick leave, adoption leave or annual leave, or if your partner has substantial caring responsibilities, or is disabled or incapacitated. If you are in the start at period after having set up a new business, then you don’t need to provide evidence that you meet the scheme is funding requirements until after 12 months. You can receive your 30 hours funding childcare at the same time as you receive tax credits, universal credit, childcare vouchers or tax-free childcare.

How and when do I claim my 30 hours free childcare?

You can apply by visiting the Childcare Choices website and filling out the application form. If you’re not able to access the website you can give childcare choices a call on 0300 123 4097.

What is 2 year funding?

2 year funding is available for families in England, receiving some form of government support once your little one turns 2. Eligible two-year-olds will receive 15 hours free childcare a week and will then progress onto three-year funding once the child has turned 3.

How does my funding work at Little Ark?

If your application is successful, you will receive code that you can give to us, along with your National Insurance number and your child’s date of birth. We will then be able to set up your funded childcare hours for you.