28 February 2019

Under the Government's scheme, working parents can get up to 30 hours free childcare a week if their child is three or four years old. Although research has revealed that only half of the 600,000 families in England the Government said would be eligible for the free childcare have benefitted.

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said: "We want as many families as possible to have advantage of 30 hours free childcare - so for those parents who think they would benefit, do apply.”

Are you eligible for free childcare?

  • The offer only applies to working parents in England with three and four-year-old children.
  • To be eligible, you'll need to earn a certain amount each week - equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage.
  • Parents over 25 will need to earn £120 per week each, while 21 to 24-year-old parents will need to make £112.80 per week. Apprentices in their first year need to earn £56 per week.
  • This offer applies to self-employed parents, as well as contracted parents and those on a zero-hour contract.
  • Parents with an annual income of more than £100,000 will not qualify for free childcare.

How to apply

  • To apply, you need to sign up online, which takes about 20 minutes. You'll find out if you're successful within seven days.
  • If you are eligible, you'll get a code to give to your childcare provider, alongside your National Insurance number and child's date of birth, to reserve your place - they must be a registered provider. You’ll get the extra hours once the next term starts.
  • You must confirm your details are up to date every three months or the code will expire.

For further information and to check whether you’re eligible, visit https://www.gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare