30 hours free childcare - provider information

Information for childcare providers about 30 hours free childcare, who is eligible and how to offer it.


All families of three and four year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours Early Years Free Entitlement (EYFE) per week, for up to 38 weeks of the yearSome working parents of three and four year olds may be eligible for an additional 15 hours a week, in other words 30 Hours Free Childcare. If spread over a whole year, the 570 hours of free childcare increases to 1140 hours for eligible parents.

Who is eligible?

The 30 hours free childcare was introduced to support working parents with the costs of childcare and to help parents who would like to work more hours. On the government's Childcare Choices website you can find details of the eligibility criteria and how families can apply

How to offer the entitlement

  • Remember -  the offer may not be 30 hours a week.... when thinking about the 30 hour offer be realistic about what you can offer parents. You will be part of the agenda whatever you can offer. For example: the 30 hours equates to 1,140 stretched hours a year over 52 weeks however the offer can also be delivered as 30 hours over 38 weeks (term time), 24 hours stretched over 47.5 weeks, 22.35 hours stretched over 51 weeks, 15 hours or more as part of linked provision (working in partnership with other providers) or other models.
  • Talk to parents  -  Working with parents / DfE's 30 hour mixed model partnership TOOLKIT - guidance to help you assess demand, marketing, managing expectations and key communications messages. 
  • Consider working in partnership with other providers to deliver - Action for Children in partnership with DfE have produced a Toolkit to support working in partnership. There is further useful guidence avaialble on the Partnerships / DfE's 30 hour mixed model partnership TOOLKIT.

DfE operational guidance  

The DfE operational guidance is intended to support local authorities and providers understand in more detail the expectations about how the free entitlements should be delivered and support the delivery of the 30 hours extended entitlement.

How will parents show that they are eligible for 30 hours?

The Government's Childcare Choices website sets out all current and upcoming childcare offers and support available to parents, including the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, the 15 and 30 hour entitlements, tax credits, Universal Credit and childcare vouchers. It is via this website that parents can apply and check if they are eligible for 30 hours free childcare. If eligible parents will be given an 11 digit eligibility code. It is important to advise parents that they will be required to re-confirm their eligibility every three months, by logging into their childcare service account

How can providers check eligibility codes?

Childcare providers will be required to use the parents 11 digit eligibility code when claiming the funding. To check codes log on to the Provider Portal and go to 'eligibility checker' tab. You will need to input:

  • The 11 digit code
  • The parental National Insurance Number
  • The child’s date of birth

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