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30 hours free childcare offer

30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds. Find out if you're eligible and apply.

If you are eligible for 30 hours free childcare from September you must apply and take your code to your provider by 31 August. 

Apply for 30 hours

Who can get 30 hours free childcare?

All 3 and 4 year olds get up to 15 hours of free childcare per week, and some 2 year olds are also eligible.

The 30 hours free childcare offer is for working families in England with 3 and 4 year old children. Parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week, but no more than £100,000 a year.

You might also be able to get Tax-Free Childcare. If so you can apply for both at the same time.

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

How you can use your 30 hours

Up to 30 hours of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (1140 hours, the same as school terms). Some childcare providers can stretch your entitlement across more weeks by taking fewer hours over each week (e.g 23.75 hours over 48 weeks).

If you're using 15 hours of free childcare, ask your provider if they're offering up to 30 hours from September 2017. Some providers may not be able to offer more hours, or they may only be able to offer a few extra hours. This may be due to places they have available or their opening times.

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

What types of childcare you can use

You can only use the funding with childcare providers registered to access early education funding. This includes:

These also include early education and childcare provision run by schools.

Search for childcare

If you're not using childcare yet, search our Family Information Directory to find childcare. You can filter your search by those offering free early education funding.

Search for childcare

How to apply

The way you apply for the 30 hours offer is different to 15 hours of free childcare. Children are eligible from the term following their 3rd birthday until they reach compulsory school age.

If your child is 3 on 31 August 2017, you can apply now for September 2017. To get the funding in the autumn term, you must apply and take your code to your provider by 31 August. You can only redeem funding at the start of each term. If you miss the deadline for the autumn term, you will get the funding at the start of the next term (1 January). 

Apply for 30 hours

You can sign up for an email alert about when you can apply if your child is:

  • 4 on 31 August 2017, and not starting school in September 2017
  • 3 on 1 September 2017

Sign up for alerts

Have you recently applied for 30 hours funding, already accessing it or plan to apply in the future?

In order to get an idea of future demand for extra funded hours in Dorset, we'd be grateful if you'd take time to complete our survey. We'd like to hear from parents who are already using the funding as well as those who plan to in the future. Please complete our survey by 14 July.

Complete the survey

More information

Find out about:

More information 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.

To find out about fee charging policies*, extra costs, paying for fees, deposits and retainers, speak to your childcare provider. *You need to agree to this when you register. 



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