Early education places and funding

All three- and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of funded early education and childcare each week for 38 weeks of the year.

Some two-year-olds are also eligible.

Extended 30 hours childcare entitlement for three- and four-year-olds

The current funded childcare entitlement for three- and four-year-olds is being increased from 15 to 30 hours per week for working parents, from September 2017. This change is to support working parents with the affordability of childcare and enable parents who want to work, or to work more hours, to do so.

Families in North Yorkshire who meet the eligibility criteria will be entitled to 30 hours funded childcare each week in term time or 1,140 funded hours stretched across the year from the beginning of the summer term 2017. Find out more below.

Eligibility criteria

The national eligibility criteria which families need to meet are:

  • both parents must be working (or the sole parent if in a lone parent family);
  • each parent must have a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or national living wage; and
  • each parent must have an income less than £100,000 per year.

You would also fit the criteria if:

  • both parents are employed but one (or both) is temporarily away from the workplace on maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave, or on statutory sick pay;
  • one parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring; or
  • one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

The national roll out for the extended entitlement starts in September 2017. Parent's eligibility for the autumn term will be checked using the HMRC online application system. Parents need to apply and have their code validated on the Childcare Choices website by 31 August for the autumn term; by 31 December for the spring term and by 31 March for the summer term. Parents will need to re-apply each term.

Tax-free childcare and 30 hours funded childcare

These are two separate government schemes, to help parents with the cost of childcare. You can apply for both through one online application - the childcare service.

To qualify for either scheme, parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week (on average) and not more than £100,000 each a year.

Parents can use tax-free childcare alongside the 15 and 30 hours free childcare schemes in England, or any free childcare hours provided by the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland governments.

Parents can't use tax-free childcare at the same time as they receive childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. However, 30 hours free childcare can be received alongside these schemes.

When you apply, you'll be considered for both these services through the same application. You'll only be asked to decide which support you want if you're on tax credits or using a childcare voucher or salary sacrifice scheme. You should check what help you could get with childcare costs, using the childcare calculator. This will help you decide which support is best for you.

Further information on eligibility

A 'parent' is defined as a person who has parental responsibility or care 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 earnings threshold.

The definition of 'working' includes employed persons, self-employed persons and parents on zero hours contracts who meet the above criteria.

  • All three- and four-year-old children are entitled to the universal 15 hours funding per week, regardless of a parent's income.
  • Please check that your chosen provider can offer the 30 hour extended childcare entitlement. Being eligible does not mean that a child will be guaranteed a place.
  • Children in a maintained reception class are not eligible for the 30 hour extended childcare entitlement.
  • Foster carers are eligible for the extended entitlement if they meet the criteria set out above for their own children. Foster carers are not eligible for the extended entitlement for the children that they foster.
  • Two parent families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works), or lone parents who do not work will not be eligible for the extended entitlement.
  • Where one parent is working (and meets the income requirements) and the other is not working because they are disabled or are in receipt of benefits relating to caring responsibilities or a disability (e.g. in receipt of carer's allowance), we will treat these households as eligible.

Accessing your childcare service account

To access your account and to view your eligibility codes for free childcare, visit the site below and sign in. You will be asked some security questions and to provide your Government Gateway ID, which you will have received when you applied. Once logged in, you can find your codes under "30 hours free childcare" or "Secure messages". 

Sign in to childcare service account

If you find it difficult to locate the 11 digit code once you have successfully applied online, see this step-by-step guide on how to find it again.

Help and support

If you have concerns about finding childcare to access your extended entitlement please contact the families information service:

Email: fis.information@northyorks.gov.uk
Telephone: 01609 533483
Mobile: Text “info” to 07624 802425

Funded early education and childcare is provided by a range of different early years settings and childminders around North Yorkshire, such as:

  • nursery schools;
  • nursery classes in schools and academies;
  • governor-run early years provision;
  • day nurseries;
  • pre-schools;
  • childminders; and
  • private daycare providers on children's centre sites.

You can view a map showing the location of early years settings and childminders around the county here.

To offer two-year-old places, providers must have been:

  • judged 'good' or 'outstanding' at their most recent Ofsted Inspection; or
  • for a North Yorkshire County Council locality sufficiency assessment to have determined that a provision judged to be 'requires improvement' but not yet re-inspected by Ofsted is able to offer funded places during a period of improving practice under review.

Two-year-olds

Some two-year-olds in England are entitled to funded early education and childcare.

To be eligible for a funded two-year-old place, you must receive one of the following benefits or credits:

  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit and have a joint annual income not over £16,190
  • Working Tax Credits and have a joint annual income of no more than £16,190
  • The Working Tax Credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credits
  • Support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Your two-year-old child receives Disability Living Allowance

Children looked after by a local council, such as with foster carers, are also entitled to a funded two-year-old place. Children are also eligible if they've been adopted from local authority care or if they have left care under a Special Guardianship Order, Child Arrangements Order or Residence Order.

Please note, even if you have been confirmed as eligible for two-year-old funding by another local authority, you must still apply for funding with North Yorkshire if you would like to send your child to a North Yorkshire childcare provider.

Check if your child is eligible

To check if your child is eligible, please use the electronic checking service:

Electronic checking service

If you have any queries, please contact the families information service on 01609 533483 or email fis.information@northyorks.gov.uk.

If your child is eligible, you can take up their place from the beginning of the term after their second birthday. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child's birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Contact your local children's centre for more information.

If you require additional hours of childcare over and above the funded 15 hours you will be able to discuss the charges for this with your childcare provider.

All three- and four-year-olds

All three- and four-year-olds are entitled to funded early education and childcare for 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. Your child can take up their funded place from the beginning of the term after their third birthday. The Government funding for your child's funded entitlement is paid directly to the setting. In order for this to be paid your child must be attending their childcare setting on the 'headcount day' each term. The setting will tell you when this is.
 
If you require additional hours of childcare over and above the funded 15 hours you will be able to discuss the charges for this with your childcare provider.
 
The date you can claim will depend on when your child's date of birth is.

Child's birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Example: your child was born on 15 February 2013. They'll become eligible for their funded early education and childcare from the start of term following 1 April 2016.

Disability access funding

Eligibility

Three- and four-year-old children will be eligible for disability access funding if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child disability living allowance and;
  • the child is in receipt of early years funded childcare at a North Yorkshire early years funded provider.

Parents must tell their child's early years provider that their child is in receipt of a valid disability living allowance award letter. You will be required to name the specific early years provider to enable the claim to be made.

Entitlement

The early years provider (nominated by the parent on parental agreement) will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £615 in a financial year (April to March).

Please note, a child is only eligible if they are currently in receipt of disability living allowance and will not be granted this funding if the award letter is not produced.

Disability access funding is not available for two-year-old children.

Inspections of early education providers

Early education providers are regulated and inspected by Ofsted. You can find out more about their inspections and read their inspection reports on the Ofsted website.

Further information

You can find out more about early education below.

Once you have chosen the place for your child, you will be asked to sign a parental agreement that says when your child will attend.

This agreement will run for at least a school term and possibly for the whole school year. Once you register for early education funding through your child's provider, we will pay the grant directly to them.

Every early learning provider has an admissions policy that clearly states how they offer free learning and childcare places. You may wish to ask for a copy of this.

It is likely to be some time before the number of nursery places in local authority-maintained nursery schools and classes matches demand. Priority for admission is in the following order:

First: children with a statement of special educational needs.

Second: children who are recommended by the assistant director of children's social care, including children in the care of the local authority, or by the appropriate designated medical officer.  We will only consider applications in this category if they are supported by a recommendation from a doctor, social worker or other appropriate professional which says that it is essential for the child to go to the preferred school and no other.

Third: children from homes with poor conditions or overcrowding, or from a background which could affect their educational development. This should be supported by the recommendation of a doctor, social worker or other professional.

Fourth: children within the normal area of the school, giving priority to the eldest child first.

Fifth: children from outside the school's normal area, giving priority to those whose home is nearest the school. 

If you would like us to consider your child for a local authority-maintained nursery place, first speak to the headteacher of the school.