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30 hours free childcare offer

30 hours free childcare from April 2017. Find out if you are eligible and apply.

If you're a working parent with a child under 4 on 31 August 2017, you can apply now for 30 hours free childcare which starts in September.

See the full eligibility criteria (opens in a new window).

If you have a child who will be over 4 on 31st August you can sign up to receive email alerts. You will get a message later this year about when you can apply.

Here are the key facts:

  • all 3 and 4 year olds already get 15 hours of free childcare over 38 weeks of the year (aligning with school terms)
  • some 2 year olds are also eligible for 15 hours of free childcare
  • from 1 April 2017, the government will increase free childcare to 30 hours a week (over 38 weeks of the year) for eligible working parents in Dorset 
  • you can stretch your entitlement across more than 38 weeks by taking fewer hours over each week, however this would mean less than 30 hours per week

In addition, if you're a parent of a 2 - 3 year old, you may be eligible for a 30 hours free childcare place in September. You can apply through the childcare service and start arranging a place with your childcare provider.

Apply for 30 hour free childcare 

To apply, visit the new childcare service.

Apply for 30 hours

What types of childcare you can use

You can only use the 30 hours free childcare with childcare providers registered to access Dorset County Council (DCC) early education funding. This includes:

This includes early education and childcare provision run by schools.

You can use funding to pay for more than one childcare provider. This could be a nursery and a childminder, or two childminders.

Searching for childcare

If you already use the 15 hours of free childcare in place, ask your childcare provider if they can offer up to 30 hours from April 2017.

Some providers may not be able to offer more hours. This may be due to places they have available or their opening times.

If you are not using childcare yet, search our directory to find childcare.

30 hours of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (1140 hours), matching school terms. Some childcare providers can 'stretch' your hours over more weeks (e.g. 23.75 hours a week over 48 weeks).

Search for childcare

More information

Find out about:

More information on the government's childcare schemes is available on the  Childcare Choices website (opens in a new window). It also includes a childcare calculator to find out how much you could receive.

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