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Funding for Nursery aged children

If you have a 2-year-old, there may be government funding available to help with childcare costs.

Who can apply?

A parent or carer can apply if they receive at least one of the following:

  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income support
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credits and an income of less than £16,190
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of the State Pension Credit
  • Children looked after by the local authority may also be eligible
How much childcare is available?
If eligible, your child can receive up to 15 hours of childcare per week, for up to 38 weeks of the year.
When could my child start?
If your child is eligible for 2-year funding they can start their childcare the term after their 2ndbirthday.

For those children who do not qualify for 2 year old funding, there is an option to pay for a nursery place.   This is payable a half term in advance via the school’s online payment system and details can be obtained from the school office.


Childcare funding for 3 and 4 year olds
All three and four-year-olds are entitled to a certain amount of free early learning and childcare hours.  This free entitlement is usually paid from the term after your child turns three.

We recommend that all 3 and 4 year olds take up their full entitlement of 15 hours/30 hours per week. Please discuss your requirements with the school office or with the class teacher when visiting the nursery.

To find out more information about how to apply for your childcare funding then please enquire at the school office.

30 Hour Government funding for working families

From September 2017, the Childcare Act 2016 increased the nursery entitlement for working parents by an additional 570 hours meaning that some 3 and 4 year old children will be eligible to claim 30 hours of nursery funding a week.  These additional hours will support working parents who are struggling with childcare costs and who may be looking to increase their working hours.

At present we do not offer 30 hours however this is something we are looking into doing from September 2018 so please inform the school office is this is something you would be interested in and are eligible for.

Do I qualify?
The additional free hours will be available to families where:
  • Both parents are in work (as defined below) and for single parent families, the sole parent is in work.
  • 'In work’ means in employment (including self-employment) and earning more than the equivalent of the National Minimum Wage for working 16 hours a week.
  • Each parent must also earn less than £100,000 per year.
  • One parent must be 'in work' if the other receives disability benefit or benefits related to caring responsibilities.

It is also proposed that the additional hours should be made available to families in the following circumstances:

  • Both parents are employed but one, or both parents, are temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity or paternity leave.
  • Both parents are employed but one, or both parents, are temporarily away from the workplace on adoption leave.
  • Both parents are employed but one, or both parents, are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay.
  • One parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring, or
  • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

As with the existing 15 hours free entitlement for three and four-year olds, children will become eligible for the additional 15 hours at the start of the school term after their third birthday:

Age of child
As with the existing 15 hours entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds, children become eligible for the additional 15 hours at the start of the school term after their third birthday.


How to apply:
Families are also able to claim tax-free childcare alongside the extended entitlement hours and can apply for both schemes via the HMRC website.

Once a family has been confirmed as eligible, they will be given a unique code to present at their chosen childcare provider. Eligibility will need to be re-confirmed every three months in order to continue claiming through both schemes. You do this through the HMRC website using the log in you created when you first applied.  If your details have not changed, you only need to tick a box in your childcare service account to confirm your details remain the same – this will then automatically be fed back through to local authority systems.

You should receive two reminders to reconfirm (four weeks and two weeks before your reconfirmation deadline).  If you miss the reconfirmation deadline, despite the reminders, you will receive a message from HMRC telling you that you are no longer eligible for 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare, however you will remain entitled until the end of your current grace period.

More information about the extended entitlement and other help available to support families with the cost of childcare, can be found at childcare choices at

Contact Us

St Margaret's C of E Academy
London Road, Bowers Gifford, Essex, SS13 2DU
T: 01268 552176 • E:

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