From September 2017, children with working parents were entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week. There is also a new way to help you pay for childcare, called the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.
For your child to start the 30 hours in September 2019 you need to apply for your code before 31st August 2019.
All 3 and 4-year-olds in England currently get 15 hours per week free childcare. In September 2017, this will increase to free 30 hours per week for children with working parents.
The government's aim is to make a really positive impact on the lives of families, and allow those parents who wish to start work, or to work more hours, to be able to do this.
To qualify, you must be earning at least £120 a week (each, if you have a partner), but no more than £100,000 per year (each). If you're aged between 21-24, you must be earning at least £112.80 per week (each).
During 2017, the government will also be rolling out a new Tax-Free Childcare scheme. You will be able to open a childcare account and for every £8 you pay in, the government will pay in an extra £2 (up to £2,000 per child, per year). You then use this money to pay for your childcare, but your childcare provider must be signed up to the scheme.
You can't use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. But you can use any of these schemes in addition to the 15/30 hours free childcare. Check the GOV.UK childcare calculator to see whether this scheme is the best offer for you.
If you have a child who is 3 years old before 31 December 2017 (i.e. their date of birth is after 31/12/2013), you can now apply and receive a code for a 30 hour place, starting in January 2018. Once you have received your eligibility code, please take this to a provider who will need to check it is valid by contacting a member of the council's early years team. If the code is valid, your child will be able to access a free 30 hour place from January 2018.
If you have any difficulties in applying, contact the Childcare Service on 0300 123 4097.