Childcare Funding Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
We know that nursery care costs can be a real concern. The good news is that the UK government and local authorities have your back with plenty of schemes to help you get the best nursery education for your little ones. These different schemes can seem a bit confusing, especially for first-time parents, so in this blog post, we're going to take a deep dive into these funding options, demystifying and explaining them as clearly and simply as possible, so that you can make well-informed choices for your child's early education.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 2023 Spring Budget announced plans to extend the Free Childcare Offer. The initial plans are that From April 2024, eligible working parents of two-year-olds will get a new offer of 15 free hours per week of free childcare. This is something that ALL Kindred nurseries will be offering, and we will be updating our funding details as soon as the Government updates us. It is worth noting that nursery places will become increasingly sought after when this new funding come into effect, so it is highly recommended to register your interest early on.
Further proposed plans are as follows:
- From September 2024, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents of children from the age of 9 months to 3-year-olds.
- From September 2025, eligible working parents of children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.
Some families are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare each week (570 per year) if you have a child who has or is turning two-years old and you qualify for one of the following:
- A household income of less than £16,190 per year
- Job Seeker's Allowance
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance
To check your eligibility, visit Childcare Choices.
15 Hours of Free Nursery Education (Universal Funding)
As a rule, every child in England gets a lovely 15 hours of free nursery education starting from the term after their third birthday. This is a fantastic government initiative known as Universal Funding. It's in place to make sure you can give your child a head start without worrying too much about the financial implications. You can use this 15-hour allocation at participating nurseries, pre-schools, and even with childminders. It is worth noting that you are able to top up and pay for further sessions if needed.
30 Hours of Free Nursery Education (Extended Funding)
This one can be a game-changer! It gives eligible parents a whopping 30 hours of free nursery education for little ones aged 3 to 4. To be eligible for this, both parents (or the sole parent in a single-parent household) should be working a minimum of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage or living wage. This extended funding can really ease the financial load when it comes to nursery care. As with the 15 hours universal funding, you are also able to top up and pay for further sessions if needed.
With both of the above options, children are entitled to this funding the term after they turn 3 years old age. Their birthday must fall before the cut-off date in order to receive the funding the following term. These dates are:
- 31st August for the Fall term (September – December)
- 31st December for the Spring term (January – April)
- 31st March for the Summer term (May – August)
What’s the difference between the 15 hour scheme and the 30 hour scheme?
All families with 3 and 4 year olds automatically get 15 hours of funded childcare per week. That’s a universal scheme, so everyone can benefit, whether they’re working or not. The 30-hour scheme is just for working families, and it increases funding from 15 to 30 hours.
To check your eligibility, visit Childcare Choices.
Tax Free Childcare is quite literally what it says on the tin— a government scheme designed to help working parents with childcare costs. With this scheme, the government pitches in £2 for every £8 you spend on childcare, up to a maximum of £2,000 per year per child (or £4,000 if your child has a disability). The best part? You can combine Tax-Free Childcare with other funding options, including the Universal and Extended Funding received at three years, to further reduce your nursery expenses.
You can check your eligibility here.
At Kindred we want to support families as much as we can, so we are pleased to tell you that alongside the government funding options, we also offer these special discounts for Kindred families:
- Sibling Discount: 5% off all regular booking sessions
- Services (Fire, Police, NHS and Educators): 5% off all regular booking sessions
Every family is different, so whatever your childcare needs, please don’t hesitate to come and talk to us. We’ll help you understand how the different schemes work and put together a package that makes the decision easier, and more affordable for you. To get in contact, click here to find your nearest Kindred Nursery, or visit our Fees & Funding Page to find out more. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Next week: Make sure to check back, as we will be delving deeper into Government funding, and how this is offered to parents at Kindred.