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FAQs for schools/providers/childminders

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Additional information about claiming for funded children:

Please see YouTube videos via the link below showing how to add the funded children onto the FIS Portal (Synergy Tribal system)

Q1. What is the 30-hour free childcare entitlement?

A: Currently all 3 & 4 year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours of free childcare and early education a week for up to 38 weeks a year.  Children can access this entitlement in school, Nursery classes, private Day Nurseries, Pre-schools and with Childminders.  The Government is increasing the entitlement from 15 to 30 a week from September 2017 for working parents who meet the eligibility criteria.  All children will remain eligible for the existing universal 15 hour free entitlement offer.

Q2. Who will be eligible for the additional 15 hours for working parents?

A: This will only be made available to families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) and each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW), and less than £100,000 per year.

Therefore, to be eligible families must meet the following criteria:

  • A child will be aged 3 or 4 when the scheme starts in September 2017
  • Parent/carer will work more than 16 hours per week
  • Parent/carer will have an annual income of less than £100,000
  • The family will live in England

Q3. When will a child become eligible for the funding?

A: A child will become eligible for the funding at the start of the school term after their third birthday:

Children born in the period

Become eligible for funding at the start of term beginning or following

School term

1 January - 31 March

1 April


1 April - 31 August

1 September


1 September - 31 December

1 January


Q4. How does a family check their eligibility?

A: Eligibility will be checked by HMRC and will be based on actual income earned. There will be a short grace period so that if parents lose their jobs, they do not automatically lose their childcare entitlement. The timescale for the grace period is still to be confirmed by central government.

Q5. How long is the grace period?

A: We will advise on the grace period once we have been notified.

Q6. Can the free 30 hours be delivered outside of term time?

A: Eligible parents will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare per week over 38 weeks or the equivalent number of hours across more weeks per year. The Government has said that it wants to ensure that parents are given the choice of a ‘stretched offer’ so that the free hours are available outside of term time.  For example: 

Standard Term Time offer

Stretched Flexible offer:              

Entitlement claimed over 38 weeks

51 weeks @ 22 hours per week

45 weeks @ 25 hours per week

Q7. Will the ratio requirements change under the 30 hours?

A: The ratios will remain under the existing adult: child ratios set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  Staff qualifications requirements and indoor space requirements will also remain the same for all 30 hours’ provision.

Q8. Will children with special needs or disabilities (SEND) be entitled to additional support?

A: Yes, there will be additional funding available to support SEN children to have full access to the EYFS. The new Disability Access Fund is equivalent to £615 per child per year to support access to free entitlements. 3 and 4 year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • The child is in receipt of child disability living allowance and
  • The child receives free early education

Early years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children.

Q9. What other support will be available to families to help with childcare costs?

A: Working parents who are eligible for the 30 hours of free childcare will additionally receive support with childcare costs of up to £2000 per child through the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, which will be available from early 2017.Parents on low incomes will get up to 85% of their childcare costs reimbursed through the childcare element of Universal Credit, which is gradually being rolled out across the country over the next few years.

Q10. What is the funding rate for providers?

A: The funding rate for providers is will be confirmed shortly.

Q11. Do we have to provide all of the 30 hours for each child?

A:  If you have the capacity to do so then you can.  However, if it meets the needs of the family they can seek childcare from up to two providers in a single day.  There are many ways the offer can be delivered for example:

(i) A single provider could deliver all of the hours

(ii) A single site with two providers could deliver the hours between them

(iii) Partners within walking distance could deliver the hours between them

(iv) Models responding to parental need such as early morning/twilight/weekend provision

Q12. What hours does the childcare need to be available for?

A: Places should be available to parents between the hours of 7am and 7pm.  The Government would like to see partners working together to provide flexible, high-quality provision that is responsive to children’s needs, including those with disabilities or special educational needs.  This could include offering early morning/twilight or weekend provision in response to parental requirements.

Q13. Who do I contact for additional information?

Judy Matthews – Strategic Implementation Manager (interim) Tri- Borough

Tel: 07702 151 845 Email:

Rupa Parmar – Head of Commissioning (Interim) Tri-Borough Children’s Services

Tel: 07739 316 355 Email:

Last Updated 03/07/2020

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