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 year Working parents of three and four year olds are eligible for an additional 15 hours a week childcare which is being referred to as 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. Here are details of the eligibility criteria. Further information for parents is available from the Family Information Service Childcare and Childcare Funding

How to offer the entitlement

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

We are aware that some parents are experiencing difficulties with the online system and with accessing their eligibility code. Childcare Works have produced some helpful information [PDF335KB] including screen shots for you to pass on to parents who are having difficulties finding their codes. They can also contact the childcare service Customer Interaction Centre on 0300 123 4097.

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

   What's happening locally?

Workshops and opportunities for providers to get together - It is important for providers to talk to each other and in some cases work together on offering the 30 hours. If you are organising any 'get togethers' we would love to hear from you and help you promote them.

We are planning workshops and webinars in the spring term - watch this space.

What's happening nationally?

In June 2018  the Department for Education (DfE) published updated the  Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for all Local Authorities  and the Model Agreement: Early years provision free of charge and free childcare  to be used from 1 September 2018. ​

Several Local Authorities have been Early Implementers since September 2016 - the DfE commissioned a report of findings from the pilot schemes: DfE evaluation report

Further Links