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30 Hour Nursery Places

Is my family eligible for 30 hours funding?


You will be eligible for the 30-hour funded childcare offer if:


  • You earn more than the equivalent of 16 hours at the national living wage or minimum wage per week: for example, £120 per week if you are 25 or older.


There is no requirement to work a certain amount of hours per week – it is all about how much you earn. This means if you only work 10 hours a week but earn £12 per hour, you will meet the minimum earning threshold. Apprentices are also eligible as long as they earn the equivalent to 16 hours at the apprentice minimum wage.



  • You earn less than £100,000 per year.


This applies if you are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract and expect to meet the earning criteria on average over the three months after you have applied for the 30-hours. HMRC will look at data such as your previous earnings to consider whether you are likely to meet the criteria and may contact you for further information if they are unsure. 


If you are starting up your own business, you will not be expected to meet the minimum earning criteria in your first year of trading. 


If you are not working but you expect to take up paid work within 14 days, you can still apply for 30 hours, as long as you expect to meet the income criteria over the coming three months.


If you are a single parent and meet the above criteria, you will be eligible for the 30 hours. If you live with a partner, you both must meet the above criteria. This still applies if one of you is not the child’s parent – for example, if you have remarried or have started living with a new partner. If you are separated/divorced from your child’s parent, the eligibility rules will only apply to the parent that the child normally lives with (and their new partner if they are part of the same household).

How do I sign up for the 30 hours?


You can apply for both the 30-hour offer and tax-free childcare via a single application on the  Childcare Choices website .


To complete the application, you provide your name, address and national insurance number, as well as whether you expect to meet the income requirements over the next three months and whether you are in receipt of any benefits. If you live with a partner, you will need to provide the same information for them as well. This will enable HMRC to decide whether your child is eligible for the 30 hours (as well as tax-free childcare).


If you are eligible, you will be given an 11-digit code that you will need to provide to us along with your date of birth, national insurance number and your child’s birth certificate. We will then use the government’s eligibility checking system to check the code is valid. 


You will need to reconfirm your eligibility every three months and will receive a reminder text message or email from the government before the deadline. If you give false information about your eligibility, you could be fined up to £3000.

My child is going to turn three next year. How soon can I access the 30 hours?


Your child will be eligible for the 30 hours offer from the term after they turn three, or the term after you receive your eligibility code – whichever is later. 


For example, if your child turns three on 25 March, and you apply for the 30-hours on 27 March, your child will be eligible for a place from 1 April (i.e. the start of the spring term). However, if your child turns three on 25 March but you don’t apply for the 30 hours until 5 April, your child won’t be eligible for a place until 1 September (i.e. the start of the autumn term).


If you want to start the 30 hours entitlement in September, the Department for Education is encouraging parents who want to take up a 30 hours place in the autumn term to apply NO LATER THAN THE END OF JUNE, to get their code in good time. HMRC sometimes needs more information from the parent to check whether they’re eligible, so parents should allow time for this. 

If I’m not eligible for the 30-hour offer, can I still get my 15 hours?


A: Yes. The 15-hour offer is still universal so if you’re not eligible for a 30-hour place, you will still be eligible for the 15-hour offer.


What happens if I become ineligible for the offer e.g. because I lose my job?


If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, your child’s 30-hour place will continue to be funded for a ‘grace period’. You can discuss this with us if and when you lose eligibility.

Accessing 30 hours places: Things to know


  • Early years providers don’t have to offer the 30 hours.


  • Like the 15-hour offer, the 30-hour scheme is optional for providers. This means that your childcare provider may decide not to offer funded places. Alternatively, they may limit the number of 30-hours places they offer.


  • This might be because, for example, the level of funding they receive from the government is not enough to cover the cost of delivering places, or because they do not have enough staff to deliver the extended offer.


  • You don’t have to take up the full 30 hours to receive funding.


  • You can split your funded entitlement between more than one provider, though no more than two sites in one day. For example, a child could attend a breakfast club and nursery setting based on one site or a maintained school and a private, voluntary and independent (PVI) provider on two different sites. However, it is important to bear in mind the impact of multiple providers on a child’s learning, development and wellbeing.


  • If you are splitting your offer between providers, you will need to provide your eligibility code and information to each provider.


  • 30-hour funding only covers 38 weeks of the year ie term time only.


  • Providers can charge non-compulsory additional charges.


  • Government funding is meant to cover the delivery of early education and care only. This means that childcare providers are allowed to charge for additional goods, services and activities, such as lunch or trips, as long as these charges are voluntary. For example, your provider might give you the choice of paying for lunch or providing lunch yourself, though it is important to note that this is not possible at all childcare settings (for example, some may not have food storage facilities).