Government-funded childcare support explained

Understanding childcare funding isn’t always easy. We are here to help explore the options. Here is how it all works:

Eligible Working families

• Current – receive 30 hours of funded childcare for children 3+
• April 2024 – Receive 15 hours of funded childcare for children 2+
• September 2024 – Receive 15 hours of funded childcare for children 9 months +
• September 2025 – Receive 30 hours of funded childcare for children 9 months +

Parents who do not meet eligibility criteria.

• Universal funding – Receive 15 hours of funded childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds and no change is being made
• Parents of 2-year-olds already in receipt of government support receive direct local authority funding – no change being made

This will be for 38 weeks but can be spread across the whole year which will be taken off your monthly childcare invoice. Please note that normal school term times are 39 weeks long whereas this offer is for 38 weeks for nurseries and schools.

When will my child’s funded hours start from?

Your child will be eligible to claim the hours from the beginning of the term after their eligible birthday. Terms currently start after 1st of January 1st of April or 1st of September. For example, if you child’s eligibility age changes on the 23rd of June, they will be eligible from the 1st of September. If your child’s eligibility age changes on the 1st of September, they will be eligible after the 1st of January.
How do I apply for funding?
How and when you need to apply for your childcare funding depends on your child’s age. You might be wondering when your child will be able to use the 15 or 30 hours of government funding. It’s all down to when their birthday falls. For Working Family Funding, you’ll need to apply online for an eligibility code.
You also must confirm that you are still eligible every three months, and the government should remind you to do this.

Remember, your child’s funding will not apply until the term after their qualifying birthday.
If you miss the latest date to apply each term, you will not be able to receive funding until the following term.

Recommended time to apply for eligibility code: Last date to apply for eligibility code:

15th October to 30th November – by 31st December to be funded after 1st January
15th January to 28th February – by 31st March to be funded after 1st April
15th June to 31st July – by 31st August to be funded after 1st September

What do I do next?

Working family funding.

You will need to check your eligibility to access the working family funding you will need to apply for an eligibility code from: childcarechoices.gov.uk.
You will also need to confirm that you are still eligible every three months, and the government should remind you to do this.

Some 2-year-olds may be eligible for funded childcare.

They may be eligible if they receive certain means tested benefits, have been looked after by a local authority, receive Disability Living Allowance, or have an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP) in place. You can read more about the qualifying criteria here: gov.uk/ help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-2-year-olds

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for working family funding.

All 3 and 4-year-olds can access fifteen hours of funded childcare if they have not received funded hours before they turn 3.

What happens next?

If you are eligible for working families funded hours you will receive an 11-digit eligibility code.
You will need to reconfirm your eligibility every three months. You will receive a reminder from HMRC by text and/or email. Please note failure to reconfirm your eligibility may lead to you losing your entitlement to the funding with HMRC and you will then become liable for any nursery fees.

Once you have received your 11-digit code, please complete the Durham County Council Declaration form, and return it to us as soon as possible. These are available in the office. We then must check this eligibility through the local authority using your code. Following which we will confirm if a place is available for you at our nursery. At this stage, please do not complete the section asking for days and hours attending. We can complete this section with you.

You must also provide your National Insurance number along with your child’s birth certificate or passport to prove their identity and date of birth. Do not worry, we only need to see these and will pass them straight back to you.

Please note you must complete this form and sign the declaration to be able to access your funded hours. We cannot process your application without it.

Will there be any extras to pay for such as food or consumables?

Yes, unfortunately to remain sustainable we will be implementing a small consumable charge which will help us with such things as paper towels, toilet tissues, art, and craft materials etc. This will allow us to continue to provide the amazing activities we do every day equating to £1.00 per 10 hours funded hours each week. For example, a child attending fifteen funded hours each will pay £1.50 and a child attending thirty hours each week will pay £3.00 each week.

There is also a cost to cover all snacks and two course lunch. Please see a member of staff for prices and options.
These extra sustainability costs apply to the 38 funded weeks only and it may be possible to spread over the year should you take that option.
We hope this goes a little way to explaining the minefield that is Government funding. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or require further information.

Kind Regards,
Sharon Lewis
Operations Director

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Nursery Manager: Sharon Lewis