Can I Get Help With Nursery and Childcare Fees?

At our day nursery, we often get asked for advice on Tax-Free Childcare, information on the Nursery Education fund, and how to qualify for free childcare. Read on to get the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding free childcare fees!

15 Hours Free Childcare For 2-Year-Olds

The Early Learning Programme (ELP) for 2-Year-Olds is a Government initiative providing free childcare places for eligible 2-year-olds. These children will be entitled to up to 15 hours a week of free early education for 38 weeks. Free places are available at participating childcare providers across Nottingham, and, to qualify, the child must live in the Nottingham City Council Area.

For a 2-year-old to be entitled to a funded place, the parent or carer must receive one or more benefits of the qualifying criteria.

How can I find out if I am eligible?

Follow the link on the Nottingham City Council website and create an account.

Can I pay for extra hours to extend the sessions?

Yes, you can.

Does it start straight away?

Your child will be entitled to a place for free from the term after their 2nd birthday.

If your child’s 2nd birthday falls between… They will be entitled to their free place from…
1st April to 31st August 1st September
1st September to 31st December 1st January
1st January to 31st March 1st April

Can I choose my hours?

You will have options to choose from, but most nurseries work differently, so you would need to select a nursery which suits the hours you need.

Do I have to pay for food or snacks?

Not when the child is 2yrs, as this is covered within the funding. However, nurseries may run differently, so it’s best to confirm.

What happens if we have absences? Can we swap days?

If your child is unwell, unfortunately not; however, there is flexibility for bereavement or medical appointments.

What days would be available?

There is flexibility, e.g. 3 mornings, 3 afternoons or 1 full day and a half session. Again, nurseries are different; some do school hours or 3 hrs per day every day.

15 Hours Free Childcare For 3 and 4-Year-Olds

In England, all 3 to 4-year-olds can get 570 free nursery hours each year. Usually, it’s taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year.

Do I need to apply for the funding when my child is 3yrs?

No – all children from 3yrs are eligible for the term after their 3rd birthday (You will need ID to confirm).

Can I pay for extra days or hours?

You can choose to take fewer hours across certain weeks to stretch the funding for working parents and pay the difference in cost for an all-year-round place.

Do I have to pay for food or snacks?

Yes, for lunch or tea, as the funding is lower than that of the 2yr funding. However, all nurseries are different; some may ask you to pay for all meals or provide a packed lunch.

30 Hours Free Childcare For 3 and 4-Year-Olds

How do I find out if I can claim 30hrs?

Follow this link to the Government website to find out if you are eligible to claim 30 hours.

Can I use this all year round and pay for extra hours?

Yes, you can use your 30hrs term time only per week, or pay to come all year round with a big monthly saving.

Can I split it between two settings?

Yes, you can attend 15hrs at each setting. However, we recommend choosing one nursery to give the child consistency.

Do both parents have to work?

The entitlement is as a household, and you would need to meet the criteria.

What days would be available?

There is flexibility, e.g. 5 mornings and 1 full day, or 5 afternoons and 1 full day, or 3 full days.

Tax-Free Childcare

For each of your children, you can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) to help with childcare costs. And if your child is disabled, this goes up to £1,000 every 3 months (up to £4,000 a year).

To get Tax-Free Childcare, you’ll need to set up an online childcare account for your child, and for every £8 that you pay into the account, the government pays in £2 for you to use to pay the nursery provider.

You can get Tax-Free Childcare as well as the 30 hours free childcare if you are eligible for both.

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare here.

Can I use this if my child attends holiday club or ASC?

Yes, you can; for any childcare suppliers.

College or University Childcare Help

If you need to pay for childcare while studying, you can apply for assistance with this cost from the college. The college will provide help with eligible childcare costs; however, it is means-assessed and subject to fee caps. Childcare funding is assessed and paid directly to the childcare provider. It is paid in arrears and is for care only.

Where do I start if I attend college and need childcare?

You choose your nursery and give them your info about which college you attend, your timetable and a contact name and number. Then the nursery sends the college an invoice, and they exchange all relevant info. The nursery is paid directly.

Will the college pay for all the childcare?

There is a cap, e.g. they will pay £55 for a full day, but the nursery might cost £75 per day. Therefore you would be responsible for paying the top-up of £20.

Do the Uni pay you directly?

No, you have to sign up to the nurseries portal system CCG, and the nursery will request your payment. You are responsible for releasing payments monthly, and there is usually a 15% top-up fee which you are asked to pay towards the monthly fees.

Student finance will also give you a form you must take to the nursery for them to complete with their info and prices.

If you have any questions about childcare fees or need advice on what costs you can get help with, please get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to help! You can take a look at our Lenton Nursery prices on our FAQ page or contact us for Bulwell Nursery prices.

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