What is the 30 hours free early education/additional entitlement?
All children can currently access 570 hours (15 hours X 38 weeks term time only) funded early education from the term following their third birthday. The government has recently announced their intention to extend this entitlement up to a maximum of 1140 hours (30 hours X 38 weeks term time only) for eligible families.
When will the additional entitlement be introduced in Leeds?
Eligible families will be able to receive 30 hours of Funded Early Education for their child from September 2017.
Who will receive it?
The government has set out the eligibility criteria for this additional entitlement:
Both parents are working (or sole parent in a lone parent family) & each parent/carer earns on average:
- a weekly minimum salary equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) (for under 25 yr olds) or national living wage (NLW) (if over 25 yrs old), and
- less than £100,000 per year
- Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave or statutory sick pay, or
- One parent is employed & the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring, or
- One parent is employed & one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.
You do not need to actually work 16 hours per week, but your earnings must equal at least 16 hours work at minimum wage / national living wage. This equates to a minimum income requirement for a parent/carer over the age of 25 of £115.20 a week, or for 21-24 year olds of £107.20 a week.
A parent/carer will be eligible if they expect (on average) to earn this amount over the coming three months: for example, for a parent/carer who is on a zero-hours contract, they will qualify if on average they work two weeks out of every three, and when they are working they get 25 hours of work at the minimum wage.
Parent’ means a person who has parental responsibility for the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earning threshold.
Foster carers are only eligible for the extended entitlement for their own children (if they meet the criteria); they are not eligible for children that they foster.
How can I check if I am eligible for the additional entitlement?
Parents/Carers will apply via the government’s HMRC website: Childcare Choices. You will input your details and be issued a voucher code for each child (multiple births such as twins are issued an individual code). You will then take this voucher code to a childcare provider of your choice to check eligibility and discuss how you will take up the hours for your child.
If I am not eligible, will I still receive the 15 hours Free Early Education Entitlement?
Yes. All children will continue to receive 15 hours Free Early Education Entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds, from the beginning of the term after their 3rd birthday, up until they take up a place in a maintained school class, or they reach compulsory school age (the term after their fifth birthday).
The relevant dates are as follows:
- Children born in the period 1st January to 31st March: the start of term beginning on or following 1st April after the child’s third birthday;
- Children born in the period 1st April to 31st August: the start of term beginning on or following 1st September after the child’s third birthday;
- Children born in the period 1st September to 31st December: the start of term beginning on or following 1st January after the child’s third birthday.
Will I need to re-check eligibility for the additional entitlement?
Parents/carers will need to reconfirm their details via their government gateway account every 3 months. They will receive reminders when they need to reconfirm from HMRC. The voucher code will remain the same from applying, providing that details have been reconfirmed on time
What if my circumstances change and I am no longer eligible?
You should discuss this with your early education provider to ensure you do not receive an unexpected charge. The Local Authority (LA) will routinely audit voucher codes, if a voucher code is no longer eligible, the LA will inform the provider. If your child has taken up and attended a 30 hour place prior to the code no longer being eligible, then a grace period will be issued. You will continue to receive the additional entitlement until the end of the grace period. A child cannot access a new 30 hour place during a grace period.
How long is the grace period?
The grace period is normally until the end of the term, however it is best to confirm with your childcare provider who can check the exact date with the LA.
If I am eligible where can I access a 30 hour place for my child?
Any providers offering the additional entitlement are viewable via a 30 hour route on our childcare search.
How much free early education can my child access a year if eligible for the additional entitlement?
The maximum a child can claim in a year, if eligible for the additional entitlement will be 1140 hours.
This equates to 30 hours a week over 38 weeks of the financial year (April-March).
Can I choose how my child takes up the 1140 hours, for example over more weeks (stretched) or varying patterns?
Please speak to your childcare provider about what patterns of delivery they can offer your child. Not all childcare providers will be able to accommodate varying patterns of delivery, or stretch the funding. It is best to agree days and time, before signing a parental declaration form. This will allow your provider, to claim from the LA, the hours your child will be attending
How many funded hours a day can my child attend FEEE?
For both the universal (15 hours) and additional entitlement (30 hours) the maximum claim per day is 10 hours. This can be taken between 6:00am and 20:00pm, 7 days a week.
Can I split the funding between FEEE providers?
You will be able to split the additional entitlement between private providers. Please be aware if you choose to split the additional entitlement between private providers, the universal entitlement of 15 hours, must be assigned to one provider only first.
FEEE can be split between a maximum of two providers in one day.
My child is only attending 30 hours over 38 weeks, why am I being charged, I thought it was free?
Free Early Education Entitlement is intended to cover access to high quality learning at a childcare provider. It is not intended to cover the costs of meals, snacks, additional activities or consumables. It is best that you speak to your childcare provider before signing an agreement to check if there is any additional charges.
If you have any further questions regarding 30 hours or FEEE, contact us by: