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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 a week is made up of:

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

The amount you will get depends on how many hours of early education your local authority offers.

You will need to apply for Early Education hours separately.

Find out how to apply for early education hours from your local Family Information Service.

You can use funded childcare hours at any time during holiday weeks, night or day, including at weekends.

You can choose how much of the 30 hours you use for up to 48 weeks of the year. If you do not use all 30 hours in one week, you cannot use them in another week.

You cannot swap:

  • early education hours for childcare hours
  • childcare hours for early education hours

You can pay for any extra hours of childcare via a private contract with your childcare provider.

If your child is 3 or 4 years old and eligible for full-time education:

  • you will not receive the Childcare Offer during term time
  • you may be still be eligible for the Childcare Offer during school holidays

You can apply in advance to receive funded childcare for the next term as long as your child is eligible. Your application may not be processed by your delivery authority until closer to the start date.