Free early education for 3 and 4 year olds

Tips on using my 30 hours free childcare

Whuich provider suits you best?

  • Full day care e.g nursery 
  • School provision
  • Childminder
  • Sessional provider e.g a playgroup
  • Out of school club e.g breakfast club

*You can only take up 30 hours at an approved provider, this means they need to be a school, registered by Ofsted or a Childminding Agency.

Different childcare arrangements work for different families. When deciding, you might want to consider the following:

  • You can take up your 30 hours between 6am-8pm, but no session can be more than 10 hours.
  • You don’t have to use all 30 hours, just those that meet your needs.
  • Providers have a choice whether to offer the hours, some may not offer the full 30 hours. • You can split your hours between providers but splitting is limited to a maximum of two sites per day. Remember to get your 30 hours code checked by all the providers you use.
  • Like at school, your provider might charge for additional services, for example; lunch, trips or music classes but these charges cannot be a condition of accessing your 30 hours place.
  • 30 hours is available for 38 weeks of the year (just like the existing 15 hours scheme). Some providers will allow you to ‘stretch’ your 30 hours entitlement over 52 weeks of the year meaning fewer hours per week (e.g. you could take 22 hours a week for 52 weeks).

Speak to your provider about whether they offer 30 hours and any additional charges that may apply or contact your local authority for further information about accessing the right childcare for you.