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
- 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 start assessing demand, marketing, managing expectations and key communications messages. This EXAMPLE 'Parents 30 hour free childcare' QUESTIONNAIRE [WORD36KB] will enable you to begin assessing demand.
- Consider working in partnership with other providers to deliver - Action for Children in partnership with DfE have produced a NEW Toolkit to support working in partnership (October 2017) Other guidance is available if you want to find out more about working with other providers: Partnerships / DfE's 30 hour mixed model partnership TOOLKIT We have produced some local maps to show childcare providers in different parts of the city: East of the city MAP North of the city MAP West of the city MAP City Centre MAP
- Look out for local and national information - we will update you here and on our Facebook page. Childcare Works are the government appointed organisation working on the implementation of 30 hours and will be updating their Childcare Works WEBSITE with current information and resources
- Think about the local childcare market - as a Local Authority we have to report annually on how we are meeting our duty to secure sufficient childcare, Our Childcare in the City WEBPAGE has the most recent Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA) 2016. You may also find it useful to view the results of our 30 hours free Childcare Parental Demand SURVEY.
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
- Foundation Years - 30 hours childcare resources - this site hosts all resources from the DfE as they are made available.
- Department for Education 30 hour mixed model partnership toolkit: the Family and Childcare Trust has designed a free toolkit to support mixed model partnership approaches to delivering the extended free entitlement for three and four year olds.