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Funding for 3 and 4 year olds


All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours funding per week over 38 weeks of the year.

Some 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to an additional 15 hours funding per week (30 Hours Extended Funding Entitlement).

  • The parent can claim less hours than what the child is entitled to if they do not wish to access the full FE.
  • A maximum of 10 hours can be claimed in any one day
  • The child can attend a maximum of two sites in a single day 

What is the criteria for 30 Hours funding?

In order for the child to be eligible for the 30 hours funded entitlement, the parents have to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Both parents are working (or sole parent in a lone parent family) & each parent earns on average:
    • a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) for under 25 year olds or national living wage (NLW) if over 25 yrs old, and less than £100,000 per year,
  • Both parents/carers are employed but one or both parents/carers is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave or statutory sick pay, or
  • One parent/carer is employed & the other parent/carer has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring, or,
  • One parent/carer is employed & one parent/carer is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

For further information about eligibility criteria please visit:

How do parents apply?

To find out if their child is eligible, the parents must go online and apply to the government website If they are eligible they will receive an eligibility code which MUST be taken to their chosen provider and entered onto the Parental Declaration Form before their child takes up a 30 hours place.

The family may receive an eligibility code before their child is 3 but they can only start claiming their 30 hours place in the term following their 3rd birthday or the term following the date when the eligibility code was issued (whichever is later).

The parents MUST go onto the childcare choices website and reconfirm their eligibility every 3 MONTHS in order to ensure the validity of their code. The parents must reapply by the 31st March (for the Summer term), the 31st August (for the Autumn term), and the 31st of December (for the Spring term).

For families in receipt of carers allowance

For joint applications - carer allowance is only available to a family where at least one working parent meets the qualifying income levels and the other parent is in receipt of a qualifying benefit, including Carers allowance or carer’s element of universal credit (it does not matter who they are carer for).

For single applications - the parent must meet income requirements regardless if they are in receipt of qualifying benefits.

Applying for 30 Hours for children in foster care

Children in foster care can receive 30 hours of childcare if the foster carers meet the eligibility criteria below and it is consistent with the child’s care plan. The foster carer should apply for a 30 hours code via their LA and should speak to their supervising social worker to see if they meet the criteria before completing an application form.

  •  CYC is the Corporate Parent of the child; if the corporate parent is in another Local Authority you must contact them for an application form. 
  • The child is eligible for 3 & 4 year old funding (term after their 3rd birthday), or will be in the next 10 weeks.
  • It's in the child's care plan that attending a childcare setting for the additional hours is in their best interest.
  • All foster carers in the household are working outside of fostering, or if a couple, at least one carer is working and the other carer is in receipt of a qualifying benefit;
  • The foster carers are EEA or Swiss national and they have EU Settled Status (EUSS) or are in the process of applying for or appealing EUSS and they meet the other eligibility criteria.
  • The foster carers must live in England.
  • The foster carers are working, but earning less than £100,000 net per year or;
  • Non-foster parents in the household must meet the standard criteria for a 30 hour code:
    • Working and earning the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the minimum wage/national living wage;
    • Earning less than £100,000 per year; and
    • EEA or Swiss national and they have EU Settled Status (EUSS) or are in the process of applying for or appealing EUSS or have a visa allowing them to have access to public funds.

To apply for 30 hours funding please see the information and links below:



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