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30 Hours Funded Childcare for 3 & 4 year olds

Working parents of a 3 or 4 year old child can access the funded extended childcare entitlement. This is an extension of the current 15 hours universal entitlement for all 3 and 4 year olds and offers (up to) a maximum of 30 hours funded childcare.

To apply for the extended entitlement (30 hours), you need to apply to the Childcare Service (HMRC) as soon as possible and secure your eligibility code.  When you receive your code, take it to your childcare provider to ensure you receive the funding for the following term.

Please note, you do not have to apply or secure a code for the 15 hours universal entitlement. You are able to access this the term after your child turns 3, just contact your childcare provider to discuss a place for your child.

See 'Parent FAQs', 'Tips on using my 30 hours childcare' and 'Your new childcare account' in the downloads section for all you need to know about the 30 hours funded childcare offer.

                                  Apply for 30 hours here

Who can get 30 hours funded childcare?

The 30 hours funded childcare offer is for working families in England with 3 and 4 year old children.  Children are eligible from the term following their 3rd birthday until they reach compulsory school age and must have applied successfully for a 30 hours code via HMRC.  Parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week, but no more than £100,000 a year each.  

Find out if you are eligible for 30 hours funded childcare here.  

You might also be able to get Tax Free Childcare and you can apply for both at the same time.  To find out more about both visit childcare choices

How you can use your 30 hours

Up to 30 hours of funded childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (1140 hours, the same as school terms). Some childcare providers can stretch your entitlement across more weeks by taking fewer hours over each week (e.g 23.75 hours over 48 weeks).

If you're using 15 hours of funded childcare, ask your provider if they're offering up to 30 hours. Some providers may not be able to offer more hours, or they may only be able to offer a few extra hours. This may be due to places they have available or their opening times.

You can use funding to pay for more than one childcare provider. This could be a nursery and a childminder, or two childminders, for example.

Search for Childcare

If you're not using childcare yet, search our directory to find childcare providers offering 30 hours.  You can filter this search by using your postcode.

                            Childcare Providers Offering 30 hours

How to Apply 

The earliest you can apply is the term before your child turns 3.  If  your child is 3 or 4, you can apply now. You should do this as soon as possible within the term to start claiming the funding during the following term. For example, you must apply by August 31st to claim funding from September - December term.  Appplications made after the cut off dates of 31st March, 31st August and 31st December will have to wait until the beginning fot he following term to claim - funding cannot start part way through a term. 

To make the application, you must complete an online form, so allow yourself enough time. If you are eligible you will get an 11 digit code which you should take to your childcare provider. Your childcare provider will check the code and confirm your eligibility. 

                                          Apply for 30 hours

If you have already successfully applied for 30 hours funded childcare but are not able to find the 11 digit code to give to your childcare provider, please see our parent guide in the Downloads section of how to find this.

Reconfirm your eligibility

If you claim up to 30 hours of funded childcare and/or Tax-Free Childcare, you must reconfirm your eligibility. You must do this even if your child hasn't started their 30 hours place.  You must reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months from the date you first applied or you are at risk of losing your funded childcare.

Experiencing difficulties in applying or a delay on the decision of your application?

If you are experiencing any difficulties in applying online for 30 hours childcare please contact the HMRC Contact Centre on 0300 123 4097. If you have submitted an application and are awaiting a 30 hours code to claim free childcare, please contact the HMRC Contact Centre.  When you have been issued with a 30 hours code from HMRC, please take this to your childcare provider who will check the code and confirm your eligibility.

Funded 30 hours for Foster Children

From September 2018, foster carers who meet the criteria as shown below can apply for 30 hours funded childcare for the child(ren) they are fostering.  Foster carers will need to complete the application form available on this page and discuss it with the Child's worker, who will need to countersign the application before it is sent to the Family Information Service. 

Children in foster care will be able to receive 30 hours funded childcare if the following criteria are met by their carer(s):-

  • That, in single parent foster families, the foster parent engages in paid work outside their role as a foster parent.
    That accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making


  • In two parent foster families, both partners engage in paid work outside their role as a foster parent.  If one partner is not a foster parent then they must be in qualifying paid work and earn a minimum of the equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum/national living wage.
    That accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making

All referral forms have to be signed by the child’s social worker to ensure that the above eligibility criteria are met.

    More Information

You can find a straightforward explanation of all government childcare support on the new Childcare Choices website

Childcare Choices brings all the government childcare offers together in one place, providing a simple way of seeing which schemes are available, with easy next steps to where you can find out more.

Using the website's childcare calculator, you can quickly find out which of the offers are available to you and choose what works best for your family. 

See our downloads section for key information you need to know about 30 hours.

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