Childcare funding

From the feedback we are receiving from some of our parents and carers, it seems that the new 30 hours free childcare initiative is proving to be quite confusing, particularly the application process. As such, we thought we would provide a quick guide to how to apply for this funding.

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What is 30 hours free childcare?

Working parents of 3 and 4 year olds in England may be entitled to up to 30 hours of free childcare, for 38 weeks of the year (or fewer hours over more weeks). This is an additional 15 hours of free childcare on top of the 15 hours universal entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds in England. You can check whether you are eligible by visiting

How do I apply?

You can apply for 30 hours up to 16 weeks before your child turns three. We recommend that you apply as soon as you are able to - don't leave it until the last minute. To ensure you get a code for the term after your child turns three, you must have applied by the end of the previous term. Those of you wishing to claim 30 hours free childcare in January are strongly advised to apply before 30th November to make sure you get your code in time for next term.

Applications for the 30 hours free funding is via the Childcare Choices website. You, and your partner if you have one, will need your:

  • National Insurance number(s)
  • Details of one of the following: your UK passport, tax credits, P60 or a recent payslip

How can I use my 30 hours free childcare?

Your free childcare entitlement can be split between multiple providers. However, you are not allowed to use more than two sites in one day. You do not need to use all the 30 hours per week - you can take up any amount of childcare up to a maximum of 30 hours per week over 38 weeks. 

How often do I need to reconfirm my eligibility?

You will need to reconfirm that you are eligible for 30 hours free childcare every three months, using your childcare service account. It is easy to do - if your details have not changed, then you just tick a box to confirm this. You will be reminded to do this 4 weeks before the reconfirmation deadline. 

If you miss the reconfirmation deadline, you will receive a message telling you that your eligibility has lapsed. You should then log into your childcare account and reconfirm. If you reconfirm and are no longer eligible, or do not reconfirm, you may be able to continue your 30 hours childcare place for a short period, known as the grace period.

If you are still unsure about your eligibility for this scheme, or if you wish to book a 30 hours free childcare place at St Mary's Nursery, then please email Paula Sansbury on for further assistance.