All 3-4 year olds in England and some 2 year olds are eligible for government-funded childcare.
Two year old funding
If your child is two, you may qualify for up to 15 hours of government-funded early years education each week. You may be eligible for free childcare if your two year old child:
- has a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
- receives Disability Living Allowance
- is looked after by the local authority
- left care through special guardianship, adoption or residence order
East Street Early Years is an approved provider of free early education. There are session options available for two year old funded children and should you be eligible you will be advised of which sessions are available. If funding is approved, it will continue until the term after your child’s third birthday, even if your circumstances change.
Universal Childcare for 3-5 year olds
All children are entitled to a free universal early education place starting the term after their third birthday. The entitlement is 15 hours of free early learning and care per week, provided over a minimum of 38 weeks of the year. The 15 hours will be available on a flexible basis, and the following will apply:
- the minimum time your child can attend a day is 3 hours and the maximum is 10 hours (6 hours only funded on each day)
- if accessed over 38 weeks (term time only), the 15 hours must be taken over a minimum of two days a week
- parents of children due to receive or receiving the funding will be asked to complete an entitlement form each term. The Manager ensures that all statutory obligations are met.
East Street Early Years are an approved provider of universal childcare and offer various sessions.
A child becomes eligible for a free place from 1 September, 1 January or 1 April following their third birthday until they reach statutory school age, or start full-time education in school reception classes before reaching compulsory school age.
So, children who are three between:
- 1 April and 31 August will have a free place from the following September
- 1 September and 31 December will have a free place from the following January
- 1 January and 31 March will have a free place from the following April
30 hours’ free childcare
Your 3-4 year old may be eligible for 30 hours’ free childcare if the following criteria apply:
- You earn, or expect to earn, the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months. This equates to £120 a week (or c.£6,000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old or £112.80 a week (or c.£5,800 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old, and £56 a week for apprentices in their first year. This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hours contract
- You (and your partner where applicable) are seeking the free childcare to enable you to work
This still applies:
- Where one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave
- Where one parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work
- Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months
- If one or both parents is a non-EEA national, the parent applying must have recourse to public funds
Claiming funded hours from East Street Early Years
Each term you will be requested to complete a funding declaration form that is requested by Oxfordshire County Council Local Authority to confirm how many funded hours you intend to claim. From time to time the Local Authority may audit children’s attendance at the setting to ensure this correlates to the funding being claimed. East Street Early Years then provide staff for the full sessions that children have been booked in.
If you require any further information or clarification with regards to funding please speak with Theresa Baker, Early Years Manager, or visit the Government website: Help paying for childcare
Further help to pay childcare fees, such as Tax Free Childcare, is available. Please visit the Childcare Choices website for the most up-to-date information and to find out what is available to you.