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30 hours and tax free childcare

Further information about 30 hours free childcare

What is 30 hours free childcare?

All 3 and 4 year olds living in England are currently entitled to 15 hours a week (570 hours per year) free childcare for 38 weeks of the year (during term-time). Some eligible working parents are also entitled to up to 30 hours free childcare (for 38 weeks of the year), equalling 1,140 hours a year.

Where can I use it?

You can use the 30 hours for childcare at:

  • registered nurseries, childminders and nannies
  • registered after-school clubs and play schemes
  • home care workers from a registered home care agency

Please note: not all childcare settings offer 30 hours - to find providers offering 30 hours in West Berkshire please search the West Berkshire Childcare Directory.

Eligibility and applying

In order to receive 30 hours free childcare, you'll need meet the following criteria:

  • you have a 3 or 4 year old child
  • you and your partner (if applicable) are working 
  • you and your partner (if applicable) are each earning at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage
  • have an annual income of less than £100,00 each
  • you're living in England

You may also be entitled to 30 hours if you are:

  • an apprentice
  • a foster parent
  • on paid sick leave
  • on maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • on paid shared parental leave
  • are self-employed and have set up your business in the last year (even if you can't prove that you meet the 16 hour earning requirement)
  • not currently working but are expecting to start work in the next 31 days

Please apply for 30 hours free childcare on the GOV.UK website.


What is Tax-free childcare?

Tax-free childcare is a government scheme designed to help working parents with childcare costs. It is available to working parents of children aged 12 and under (17 and under if the child has a disability). The scheme allows eligible parents to set up an online childcare account, which you can pay in to whenever you like and can be used to pay your childcare provider directly.

How much is it?

For every £8 you pay into the account, the government will pay in an extra £2.

You can get up to £500 every 3 months (£2,000 a year) for each of your children, or up to £1,000 every 3 months (£4000 a year) for a child with a disability.

If your circumstances change or you no longer want to pay in the account you can withdraw the money you have built up, with the government withdrawing their corresponding contribution.

Eligibility and applying

The eligibility criteria is similar (but not exactly the same) as 30 hours free Childcare and you will be required to re-confirm your circumstances every 3 months. You check whether you would be eligible using the online calculator.

You can use your Tax-Free Account to pay your childcare provider's invoice for any childcare above and beyond your 30 hours entitlement. You can do this by logging in to your account and sending payment directly to the provider's bank account.

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