Somerset County Council

30 hours of funded childcare


30 hours funded childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds
All three and four year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours of funded early education or childcare a week, for up to 38 weeks a year, or 570 hours a year if 'stretched'. This is known as the ‘universal entitlement’.

The government is doubling this entitlement to 30 hours a week (for up to 38 weeks a year) from 1 September 2017. In Somerset, families can 'stretch' this entitlement to a maximum of 1140 hours a year. This is known as the ‘extended entitlement’. 

You can find information on Somerset Choices about the providers offering the extended entitlement here.

Eligibility for the extended entitlement
Working* parents of three and four year olds will need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for up to 30 hours a week funded childcare:

  • Each earns or expects to earn the equivalent to 16 hours a week at the National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months. This equates to £120 a week (or about £6000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old, or £112.80 a week (or about £5800 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old and £56 a week for apprentices in their first year.

This means you don't have to actually work 16 hours a week but earn at least the equivalent of these wage rates. 

*'Working' will include the employed and self-employed, and people on zero-hour contracts, and people away from work due to statutory sick pay, maternity, paternity or adoption leave, and where one parent is working and the other is in receipt of benefits due to caring responsibility or disability.

Who will not qualify? 
Families will not meet the criteria when:

  • either parent has an income of more than £100,000 
  • those that are not in paid work
  • either parent is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control (and has no recourse to public funds) 

How do I apply?
You must apply for the extended entitlement hours through 

You will need:

  • Your National Insurance Number, and your partner’s National Insurance Number (if applicable)
  • Child’s name and date of birth

If you are eligible, you will receive an 11 digit code to take directly to a participating childcare provider. 

They will then gain your written permission to verify the code with the Local Authority. 

Once verified, a place can be confirmed for the funding period after your child becomes 3 years old.

If you have any problems applying for the extended entitlement please ring the HMRC Helpline on 0300 123 4097.

When can I start using my extended entitlement hours?

If your child’s third birthday falls between

You need to apply, get a code and contact your childcare provider before

Once your place is confirmed you can start using your extended hours from

1 September – 31 Dec

31 December

1 January (Spring)

1 January – 31 March

31 March

1 April   (Summer)

1 April – 31 August

31 August

1 September (Autumn)

To be able to use your extended entitlement you will need to have made a successful application and received a code by the deadlines given. If you miss the deadline you cannot use the extra funded hours, but you will still be able to use the universal hours. For example if you do not apply and receive a code by 31 August deadline you cannot use your extra hours in September you will need to wait until 1 January. 

Please note:  if you become eligible after the start of a funding period, you must wait until the following period to access your extended entitlement place.

When would my extended entitlement hours stop?
You will be prompted by text, and/or email every 3 months to reconfirm your eligibility details. If you do not reconfirm, or your circumstances change, you will only be able to access the extended entitlement hours for a short time known as a ‘Grace Period’.

Date parent receives ineligible decision on
LA audit date Grace period end date
Between 1 January and 10 February  11 February  31 March 
Between 11 February and 31 March  1 April  31 August 
Between 1 April and 26 May  27 May  31 August 
Between 27 May and 31 August  1 September  31 December 
Between 1 September and 21 October  22 October  31 December 
Between 22 October and 31 December  1 January  31 March 

If the grace period has expired and you have not met the eligibility criteria again, you would only be able to access the universal entitlement (570 hours per year). 

Extended entitlement hours will also stop

  • When your child reaches compulsory school age
  • When your child attends a reception place in a maintained school or academy 


Contact: Early Years Commissioning
Address: B2 South, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY
Phone: 0300 123 2224
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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