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1. Overview

Parents and guardians can apply for childcare and early education for up to 30 hours a week. Foster carers and kinship carers (relative or friend who is not a child’s parent) can also apply.

30 hours is made up of:

  • at least 10 hours of early education a week
  • up to 20 hours a week of childcare

The amount you get depends on how much early education your local authority offers.

You can choose how much of the 30 hours you use for up to 48 weeks of the year. However, if you do not use all of your 30 hours in one week, you cannot use them in another week. You cannot swap education hours for childcare hours, or childcare hours for education hours. You can pay for additional hours of childcare yourself based on a private contract between you and your childcare provider.

If your child is eligible for full-time education in your local authority:

  • you will not be eligible for the Childcare Offer during term time
  • you may still be eligible for the Childcare Offer during school holidays, if they are aged 3 or 4