Additional child care hours funding has seen a significant increase in the past 14 months according to figures revealed by North Lincolnshire Council.
Since September 2017, more than 1,000 families in North Lincolnshire with three and four year-olds have benefited from additional funded childcare hours.
Parents are saving up to £40 a day in childcare costs in Ofsted registered childcare. This is in addition to the universal 15 hours of childcare that all families are entitled to, meaning that families can access up to 30 hours childcare.
Families can access their funded place in Ofsted registered childcare that includes childminders, nurseries, pre-schools, school nurseries, before and after school clubs or any combination of these.
Children that turn three on or before 31 December 2017 may be eligible for the extended hours from January 2018. For the additional 15 hours both parents or a lone parent, where appropriate, must be in employment and expect to earn (on average) at least £120 a week. This is equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage. If one parent is on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or unable to work due to illness, a disability or caring responsibilities they may still be eligible for the additional funded hours. Students and parents that expect to earn in excess of £100,000 (individually) are not eligible.
To apply for the extended 15 hours of funding families should visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk website.
It is highly recommended that families apply before 30 November 2017 to secure their place for January 2018. Here they can create an account and apply for the 30 hours childcare. Details on all government childcare support can be found on there.
A childcare calculator is available for families that can quickly find out which of the childcare offers available works for their family, go to www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator website.
Parents eligible for the funded childcare should apply now to allow enough time for any further documentation to be requested. Any eligibility codes issued after 31 December 2018 will not be valid until 1 April 2019.
Families can apply during the term that their child turns three years of age and will be able to start the next school term where they have a valid eligibility code – autumn, spring and summer. All eligible parents supplied with 11 digit eligibility code to present to their chosen Ofsted registered childcare provider who will validate the code and discuss attendance patterns. Each type of provider offers different session times and availability, parents should consider their needs and childcare most appropriate.