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A Parent's Guide to 15 Hours of Free Childcare

Empowering Parents with Early Years Funding Information

With the recent introduction of new government schemes offering early years funding for eligible children in the UK, navigating the details can feel overwhelming. Let us simplify the process for you and provide guidance on how to apply.


Understanding the New Funding Opportunity

Commencing from May 12, 2024, qualifying families can now apply to receive 15 funded hours of childcare starting from the term following their child's 9-month milestone. These funded hours are spread across 38 weeks during term time.

This initiative operates concurrently with existing schemes that provide 15 funded hours for 2-year-olds, as well as 15 and 30 funded hours for 3-year-olds.


Commencement of the New Funding Program

The 15 hours of free childcare will officially commence in September 2024. Subsequently, the funded hours will be applicable in the term subsequent to your child reaching 9 months of age.

Typically, term start dates fall on the 1st of January, April, and September. Specific nurseries may have variations, so it is advisable to consult your Nursery Manager for further details.


Eligibility Criteria for 15 Hours of Free Childcare

The most efficient method to determine your eligibility is by visiting https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.


Key eligibility criteria include:

  • Your child’s age and circumstances

  • Starting from September 2024, you can access 15 hours of free childcare for your child once they reach 9 months of age, provided you are employed.

  • For foster parents, you can claim 15 funded hours if you work outside your fostering responsibilities and your adjusted net income is below £100,000. Foster parents are advised to liaise with their social worker or Local Authority to initiate the application process.

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