30 hours extended entitlement
Eligibility for free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds of working parents.
A child is entitled to the 30 hours early education funding for 3 and 4 year olds if the child is within the eligible date of birth range for the term, is under compulsory school age and the child’s parent(s) meets the eligibility criteria set out below:
- the parent of the child (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work;
- the parent of the child (and their partner where applicable) should also be in qualifying paid work. Each parent or the single parent in a lone parent household will need to expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours at the national living wage or their national minimum wage rate over the forthcoming quarter;
- where one or both parents are in receipt of benefits in connection with sickness or parenting, they are treated as though they are in paid work;
- where one parent (in a couple household) is in receipt or could be entitled to be in receipt of specific benefits related to caring, incapacity for work or limited capability for work that they are treated as though they are in paid work;
- where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months in order to qualify for the extended entitlement.
- if either or both parents’ income exceeds £100,000 they will not be eligible for the extended entitlement.
The eligible date of birth range for extended and universal hours is the same. Please see the current term's eligible dates of birth here.
A child in foster care is entitled to free early education provision if the child is within the eligible date of birth range for the term, is under compulsory school age and the criteria set out below are met:
- That accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making, and
- That, in single foster parent families, the foster parent holds additional paid employment outside of their role as a foster carer.
- And in two foster parent families, both are employed.
Foster carer applications should be made to the child's Social Worker.
If when a parent reconfirms their code they are no longer eligible, they will go into their grace period. This means they will be able to keep their childcare for a short period until they reach their grace period end date.
You can use the eligibility checker to view and confirm the grace period end date for the 30hr code. For information on how to use the eligibility checker on the provider portal click here.
Once the grace period has lapsed, the parent will still be entitled to the universal 15 hours however they will no longer be able to access any extended hours.
Providers should validate extended entitlement (30 hour) codes on the provider portal before offering the extended hours to a parent.
When you validate the code you must check to ensure the start date is before the deadline date for parents to apply for their 30 hour code for the term. If the start date is after the deadline date then you must ask the parent to confirm if they applied in time and if they did you need to ask for evidence e.g. an email from HMRC or screenshot of their 30 hour account activation date. The deadlines for parents to apply for their 30 hour code are as follows.
- 31 August - funding starting in the Autumn term (from September term)
- 31 December - funding starting in the Spring term (from January term)
- 31 March - funding starting in the Summer term (from April term)
Family Information Service complete a 30 hour audit of codes 5 times a year as stated in the Provider Agreement. You will be notified after each of these audits have taken place. The Provider Portal will be updated to show the latest code information and you will need to contact parents whose 30 hour code is expiring at the end of the existing term (grace period end date).