You can now find a straightforward explanation of all government childcare support on the new Childcare Choices website: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Childcare Choices brings all the government childcare offers together for the first time, providing a simple way to 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.

Check using the calculator now: www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator

30 hours

If eligible, you're entitled to an extra 570 hours of free childcare a year to use flexibly, so 1140 hours in total.

You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £120 a week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage). If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible. 

You can't get 30 hours free childcare if you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 or more.

Available at participating:

  • Nurseries and nursery classes

  • Playgroups and pre-school

  • Childminders

  • Sure Start Children's Centres
     

Watch the video below to see the benefits for 30 hours!

 

Tax Free Childcare

If you're a working parent with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children), you can open an online account to pay for registered childcare. The government will top-up the money you pay into the account. For every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2. You can receive up to £2,000 per child - that's up to £500 every three months. If you have a disabled child, you can receive up to £4,000 per child - that's up to £1,000 every three months.

You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £120 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage). If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible. 

If either you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 or more, you can’t get Tax-Free Childcare. You can’t use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. You can use it with the 15 hours and 30 hours schemes.

You can use it to help pay:

  • Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies

  • Registered after-school clubs and playschemes

  • Registered schools

  • Home careworkers working for a registered home care agency

Tax Credits

  • For working families, in the UK

  • With children under 16 (or under 17 if disabled)

  • 70% of childcare costs, up to a cap

If you are entitled to Working Tax Credit, and you and any partner are working at least 16 hours a week each, you can claim back up to 70% of your eligible childcare costs for children under 16 (or under 17 for disabled children). Depending on your income, you could get up to £122.50 a week for one child or £210 for two or more.

You can use it to help pay:

  • Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies

  • Registered after-school clubs and playschemes

  • Registered schools

  • Home careworkers working for a registered home care agency
     

You may also be eligible for Child Tax Credit, even if you’re not working.

*How to claim tax credits*

Universal Credit is being phased in over the next few years. It will replace a number of existing benefits, including tax credits. If you are already receiving tax credits, you don't need to do anything now. 

You can’t claim Universal Credit, tax credits, or Tax-Free Childcare at the same time.

Childcare Vouchers

  • For working families, in the UK

  • With children under 16 (or under 17 if disabled)

  • Up to £933 a year in tax and National Insurance savings

If your employer offers childcare vouchers or arranges your childcare, you can get up to £933 a year in tax and National Insurance savings.

The amount you can get in childcare vouchers depends on how much you earn and when you joined the scheme. You pay for your childcare before tax and National Insurance deductions are made.

You can’t use childcare vouchers at the same time as Tax-Free Childcare. Over time, Tax-Free Childcare will replace childcare vouchers and childcare arranged directly by your employer.

Childcare vouchers will remain open to new joiners until April 2018. Parents already using childcare vouchers can continue to do so after this date, as long as the employer continues to offer them. The tax and National Insurance exemption for workplace nurseries will also continue.

Support While You Study

  • Weekly payments from Care to Learn if you’re at school or sixth-form college

  • Help through your college if you’re in further education

  • A weekly grant if you’re in full-time higher education

You could get weekly payments through Care to Learn if you're under 20 at the start of a publicly-funded course, such as a school or sixth form.

You can apply for Discretionary Learner Support to pay for childcare if you're 20 or over and in further education, for example, if you're studying for an NVQ, BTEC or PGCE.

You can apply for a Childcare Grant if you're in full-time higher education to pay for childcare costs for children:

  • under 15

  • under 17 if they have special needs