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' from the funding period after they become 3 years old. This is known as the ‘universal entitlement’.
The government has extended this entitlement to 30 hours a week (for up to 38 weeks a year). 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.
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 to apply
You must apply for the extended entitlement hours through www.childcarechoices.gov.uk or by calling 0300 123 4097 if you do not have access to the internet.
If you have any problems applying for the extended entitlement please ring the HMRC Helpline on 0300 123 4097.
You will need:
- your National Insurance Number, and your partner’s National Insurance Number (if applicable)
- child’s legal name and correct date of birth
- a government gateway account
What to do if you are successful
If you are successful, you will receive an 11 digit code to take directly to a participating childcare provider. They will need your:
- 11 digit eligibility code (begins with 500)
- child’s legal name and correct date of birth (please take birth certificate if possible)
- parent name and their National Insurance Number
They will then gain your written permission to verify the code with the Local Authority. Once the code is verified, a place can be confirmed for the funding period after your child becomes 3 years old.
Please present your code to all providers that you are accessing your universal and extended hours funding with. They will ask you to complete a parent’s declaration form to indicate who you are claiming the universal hours with, and the extended hours with. Please keep your copy for your records.
When you can 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
1 January (Spring)
1 January – 31 March
1 April (Summer)
1 April – 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.
If you become eligible after the start of a funding period, you must wait until the following period to access your extended entitlement place.
Funded 2 year olds and the Extended Entitlement
If you have been accessing your funded place for 2 year olds, and have been successful in applying for the extended entitlement will need to wait until the term after your child is 3 years old before you can claim your extended hours. You can still access the universal hours for 3 year olds without a break in funding.
Transferring to a new provider
If you move to a new provider, please present your code for revalidation to ensure there are no changes to your eligibility. Please also give them details of hours claimed at the previous provider. You will need to complete a new parent’s declaration form as well with your new provider.
Keeping your 30 hours childcare place
To keep your 30 hours place you need to check your details are up to date every 3 months. Visit our reconfirming page for more details.