30 Free Hours Childcare... Explained!


30 Hours Free Childcare - Is It For My Child?

A topic that has been cropping up recently in the world of nurseries and childcare is the 30 Hours Free Childcare available to some families in England. We have put together this post to answer some of your burning questions around this topic and to tell you a little bit more about the scheme. It is always a big bonus if you can get help with your childcare costs, so read through this carefully and if you need any more information feel free to call your local First Steps Nursery.


So what is this all about?

This is a government scheme set up to help families better afford much needed childcare while they work. Entitled families can receive 30 hours of free childcare or early eduction for 38 weeks. This is a total of 1,140 hours a year which is a big saving for most families! 

This free childcare can be used flexibly with one or more childcare providers. Some providers will allow you to use the hours over 52 weeks which means you will be using fewer hours per week, but you will need to talk to your individual childcare provider about this.


Who is it for?

This scheme was set up for working families in England with three and four year old children.


How do I know if I am eligible?

Th eligibility depends on salary and your current working status. In terms of finances, you and your partner much each expect to earn at least £125 per week. This is equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. You will not be eligible if you or your partner individually expect to earn over £100,000.

If you or your partner are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave you may still be eligible. Similarly, if you are unable to work due to a disability or have other caring responsibilities than you could also still be eligible. 


When can my child start?

Your child can start in their childcare place the term after they turn three years old. Term start dates are 1st of September, 1st of January and 1st of April and you will need a valid 30 hours free code. Your details need to remain up to date every three months in order to keep your place on the scheme.


Where can I use my 30 hours free childcare?

First Steps Nurseries are a participating nursery and offer the 30 Hours Free Childcare scheme in each of our nurseries. Get in touch with the First Steps Nursery local to you to discuss the scheme with a member of staff.

Other institutions that may offer the same are schools, childminders, sessional providers, Sure Start Children’s Centres and after school clubs. You will need to check individually with your chosen provider to ensure they participate in the scheme.


Is there anything that isn’t covered?

The 30 hours free childcare offer is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Some providers may charge a fee for these additions. 

If you choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider. However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 30 hours place, and must be offered alternative options.

At First Steps Nurseries, we are proud to be a part of this scheme and welcome any eligible parents who would like to enrol their child in the coming term. We have open days coming up in November, so please check our events calendar to find out the open day date for your local nursery.