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Support With Childcare Costs

The Government's Childcare Choices website brings together all the existing childcare offers in one place, so parents can get the help that fits their family.  Some families might be eligible to use more than one childcare scheme.  


NEW Working Families Entitlement for 2 Year Olds

From April 2024 , eligible working parents in England with children aged 2 years will have access to 15 hours childcare.

Eligible working parents are able to apply for their 15 hours childcare for their two-year-old using the Childcare Choices website. Parents have until 31 March 2024 to apply for an eligibility code to receive the funded place in summer term 2024.  The best time to apply is mid-January to the end of February, in case families need to provide further information to support their application.   Children must be attending their childcare place by Thursday 16th May 2024 to receive the funded place.  

From September 2024 , the 15 hours childcare offer will be expanded to eligible working parents in England with children between 9 and 23 months old.

From September 2025, eligible working parents in England with children between 9 months up to school age will have access to 30 hours childcare.  

Find out more about the changes to early years free places here.

Don’t miss out on getting the support you are entitled to, visit the Childcare Choices website.

Families who are not eligible for the new working families entitlement may be eligible for the 2 year old entitlement for familiea receiving additional Government support (see below for more details).










Two year old offer - families receiving additional Government support

Eligible 2 year olds can get 15 hours of free childcare a week, for 38 weeks (a maximum entitlement of 570 hours).  Parents can stretch their entitlement over more than 38 weeks by taking fewer hours per week, at participating providers if they are receiving additional Government support.  Children can take their 2 year old entitlement from the term after their 2nd birthday. 

1st April to 31st August birthday - can take up their funded place in autumn term, which begins in September.  

1st September to 31st December birthday - can take up their funded place in spring term, which begins in January.  

1st January to 31st March birthday - can take up their funded place in summer term, which begins in April.  (Please note that this is the case even if the Easter break falls after 1st April).

Check if you are eligible for the 2 Year Old Offer using the Citizen Portal   (see guide to using Citizen Portal in documents below).   You can apply now for a code to access the hours in spring term.    

Non- UK citizen who cannot claim benefits 

If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get funded childcare for your 2-year-old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

£26,500 for families outside of London with one child
£34,500 for families within London with one child
£30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
£38,600 for families within London with two or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

If you think you are eligible under these criteria you will have to complete a separate application. Please email with your contact details if you meet the eligibility criteria above.

Related documents

Working families entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds

Eligible working families with children aged 3 to 4 years are entitled to 30 hours of free childcare a week, for 38 weeks of the year. This is a total of 1,140 free hours a year.

Families apply through the Government’s Childcare Choices website.  

Parents must register for the working families entitlement on the Childcare Choices website the funding period before they want to start taking their entitlement.  The deadlines for applying for funding are as follows:

  • Summer term   Deadline for applications is 31st March
  • Autumn term    Deadline for applications is 31st August 
  • Spring               Deadline for applications is 31st December

Watch this step by step video for information on applying for the 30 hours.   Most parents will get an immediate decision on their eligibility. HMRC may require further information to make the decision for some parents. Parents should therefore apply in good time.  

Eligible children can receive the working families entitlement (3&4 year olds) from the start of the funding period following their third birthday (click here for more details).  A child is only entitled to start their working families entitlement (3&4 year olds) place the term following the child’s third birthday or the term following receipt of a valid eligibility code, whichever is later.  Families are no longer entitled to the working families entitlement when they start full-time education (i.e. reception year at school).

Parents must renew their code to remain eligible. Children starting a new working families (3&4 year old) place MUST have an eligible code on the first day of the funding period: 

  • Summer term     1st April 
  • Autumn term      1st September
  • Spring term        1st January

Eligible parents should continue to apply for, and reconfirm, their eligibility code even if they are not currently accessing their entitlement.  Funding for spring term 2024 has now closed, eligible children can take up their entitlement in summer 2024.  

If you are a parent who is unable to find suitable childcare, please contact  

Foster carers

Foster carers can be eligible for the 30 hours entitlement for children in their foster care, providing it is consistent with the child’s care plan and you and your partner (if any) are in paid employment outside your fostering role. You should start by discussing this with your social worker at the earliest opportunity.  Applications must be made the term before you want to access the funded 30 hours (see guidance in documents section below).  For foster parents, who are unhappy about decisions made by the local authority, then the foster parents should seek resolution through their social worker or though the local authority complaints process.

Appeals, compensation claims and complaints to HMRC regarding 30 hours applications

Families can ask HMRC to review their working families entitlement application if they disagree with the decision that they are not eligible.  If a parent misses out on a funded working families place, through no fault of their own, they may be eligible for some monetary redress from HMRC. Please note: the parent must have made their application before the termly deadline; and must have paid out for childcare that they would have otherwise have been entitled to for free (i.e. they must meet all other eligibility requirements, such as the child’s age and earnings threshold). If a parent thinks they meets these conditions they should make a complaint by the completing the standard HMRC complaints form or call the childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097.

Related documents

Universal 15 hours (all 3 & 4 year olds)

All three and four year olds are entitled to 570 free hours of early education per year, equivalent to 15 hours a week over a minimum of 38 weeks. Children can stretch their entitlement over more than 38 weeks a year.  This means taking fewer hours per week, subject to a maximum of 570 hours during the academic year.  Children can take their 15 hour entitlement the term after their 3rd birthday.   Families should approach their preferred childcare provider directly to arrange their universal 15 hour entitlement.          

A child may access their free place through:

  • nursery schools or nursery classes attached to schools
  • playgroups
  • child care day nurseries
  • private/independent schools
  • childminders

Call 0345 2000 109 for a list of local childcare providers.

Three year olds born between dates shown (inclusive) will be eligible the term following their 3rd birthday:

1st April to 31st August.
The start of the autumn funding period following their 3rd birthday. That is September.

1st September to 31st December.
The start of the spring term funding period following their 3rd birthday. That is January.

1st January to 31st March.
The start of the summer term funding period following their 3rd birthday. That is April. (Please note that this is the case even if the Easter break falls after 1st April).

Related documents

Childcare sufficiency

This report below considers whether there is sufficient childcare in North Tyneside.

Related documents

Tax-free childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is a Government scheme to help working families with their childcare costs.  Eligible parents can use Tax-Free Childcare  against payment for registered childcare, including school-aged childcare.

Parents will be able to open online childcare accounts to pay their registered childcare providers directly. For every £8 parents pay in to these accounts, the Government will add £2, and the total amount in the account can only be spent on childcare. Parents can receive up to £2,000 in Government support per child, per year, or £4,000 for disabled children.

More information is available in the Parent Guide, which can be found in the 30 hour entitlement section.


Related documents

Childcare Element of Universal Credit

For working families claiming Universal Credit with children under 17 years of age (who aren't receiving Tax-Free Childcare). 
Up to 85% of eligible childcare costs. The childcare element of Universal Credit can be used against payment for registered childcare,
including school-aged childcare. Find out more here.

Special educational needs and disabilities

Support to access the free early education and childcare places is available to children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  More information can be found in the Support for Children aged 0-5 Years section of the Local Offer.

Early years pupil premium

The Early Years Pupil Premium provides additional funding to providers, to support eligible children in early years settings access their universal entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds.  Subject to Parliament passing the relevant regulations, eligibility for the Early Years Pupil Premium will be extended to all eligible children accessing the
free entitlements from April 2024.   

Disability Access Fund

The Disability Access Funding supports eligible, disabled children’s access to the 3 & 4 year old entitlements. Subject to Parliament passing the relevant
regulations, the Disability Access Fund will be extended to all children accessing the free entitlements from April 2024.

Complaints About Funded Childcare Offers

If you are not satisfied that your child has received their free place or with any aspect of the way they have received it you can follow the Authority's complaints procedure.