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Find out about Funding options starting in September

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Stretched Funding Hours

Understanding the balancing act between work and family, we offer the option to ‘stretch’ your funded hours over up to 51 weeks instead of the standard 38 weeks. This means using fewer hours per week but over a longer period. Take a look at the examples below.

15 Hours of Stretched
Childcare Funding

Traditionally allocated over the 38 weeks of term time, you have the option to extend this schedule to cover up to a 51-week period. By doing so, the weekly hours adjust to approximately 11 hours.

30 Hours of Stretched
Childcare Funding

If you’re eligible for 30 hours of childcare funding, you can choose to stretch this for up to 51 weeks. In this case, your weekly hours would be around 22 hours.

Applying for Childcare Funding

Find out more: 15 hours childcare funding

For working families: Apply for 30 hours childcare

Childcare Funding FAQ

Am I eligible for 15 hours free childcare?

Yes, 15 hours of childcare is available for all families in England.

How do I apply for 30 hours of free childcare?

Check your eligibility and apply online through the government’s website.

When does 30 hours free childcare stop?

Funding continues until your child begins compulsory school or reaches the statutory school

When do I apply for 30 hours free childcare?

You should apply for your funding code up to 3 months before you plan to use the childcare service, keeping in mind that the funding code cannot be used in the same term it’s applied for.

Can self-employed individuals be eligible for funded childcare?

Yes, self-employed parents are eligible for funded childcare, provided they meet the minimum income requirements through their self-employment.

What if I work multiple jobs?

If you have more than one job, combine your earnings from all employment to see if you meet the eligibility criteria, specifically the minimum of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage and a maximum annual income of £100,000.

How do I prove my income if it’s irregular?

For irregular income, use the average of your expected earnings over the current tax year to determine eligibility.

Is a National Insurance Number required for eligibility?

Yes, having a National Insurance Number is a prerequisite for applying for funded childcare.

Can I combine 15/30 hours funding with other childcare schemes?

Absolutely, the 15/30 hours funding can be used in conjunction with other childcare support schemes like Tax-Free Childcare or Universal Credit Childcare, offering greater financial flexibility.

How does the ‘stretching’ of funded hours work?

The ‘stretching’ option allows you to spread your funded hours over more weeks by using fewer hours each week, providing increased flexibility to match your family’s schedule.

How often do I need to reconfirm my details?

You need to reconfirm your eligibility details on your gov.uk account every three months to continue receiving funding.

Can I use funded hours with multiple childcare providers?

Yes, the funded hours can be flexibly used across one or more childcare providers, based on your needs.

How many funded hours per day can I use at Head Start

The daily use of funded hours at Head Start depends on the nursery’s availability and opening hours. The funding is allocated on a pro-rata basis across the year, rather than by specific days.

Can I roll over unused hours to the next term if I’m on holiday?

Unfortunately, hours are allocated on a pro-rata basis throughout the year, maintaining a consistent weekly routine regardless of holidays or sickness.

What should I do if I need extra hours on an ad hoc basis?

Please discuss your needs with the nursery manager as soon as possible. They will do their best to accommodate additional bookings, which will incur a non-funded charge.

Why do fees vary between Family First nurseries?

Fees vary due to differing operational costs across geographical locations, impacting the charges between our various nurseries.

What happens after I apply?

If successful, you’ll receive a code, which you need to share with your chosen nursery.