Find out about the universal 15 hours government funding and the additional 15 hours of government funding known as Extended Entitlement funding.

Universal 15 hours funding for three and four-year-olds

Your child will be eligible for 15 hours of universal funding for up to 38 weeks per year the term after their third birthday. You do not need to apply for this you will need to discuss and arrange this with your childcare provider. Please see the chart below for eligible dates:- 

Child born between Universal government funding starts
1 September - 31 December Term beginning on or after 1 January
1 January - 31 March Term beginning on or after 1 April
1 April - 31 August Term beginning on or after 1 September

Extended entitlement 15 hours funding for three and four-year-olds - also known as 30 hours funding

In addition to the universal 15 hours of government funding, some families may be entitled to claim an extra 15 hours of childcare per week bringing the total to 30 hours. This is known as Extended Entitlement government funding. 

You can submit an application when your child reaches the age of 2 years and 36 weeks. Please see the chart below for eligible dates:

When your child turns three When they can get 30 hours from Recommended time to apply
1 September - 31 December 1 January 15 October - 30 November
1 January - 31 March 1 April 15 January - 28 February
1 April - 31 August 1 September 15 June - 31 July

You can apply outside of these recommended dates but you might not receive your code in time.

You must have a valid code by the end of the month before a new term starts.

You have to reconfirm your eligibility every three months. If you apply more than three months before the term starts, you will have to reconfirm your eligibility in your account in order to keep your code valid.

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.

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 people, self-employed people, and parents on zero hours contracts who meet the above criteria.

What if one parent doesn't work?

In a two parent family, both parents must work and fit the criteria above. In a single parent family, the lone parent must work.

However, 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.

Can I claim the 30 hours at any childcare provider?

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.

Dates by which you need to apply for your Extended Entitlement (30 hours) code:

  • For the Autumn Term (from September) – apply by 31st August
  • For the Spring Term (from January) – apply by 31st December
  • For the Summer Term (from April) - apply by 31st March

We recommend that you apply at least three weeks before the deadline date, in case of any delays when receiving your code.

Your childcare provider may set their own deadline for validating the Extended Entitlement code prior to the start of each term. This is especially relevant for providers who are open term time only and need to confirm funded places for the start of the following term. Please discuss this with your childcare provider so you know when you are required to provide them with the Extended Entitlement code.

To apply for your extended entitlement you will need to:

  • Access the Childcare Choices website and create an account.
  • Enter your details - if you are eligible you will then receive an 11 digit code (you may be asked for additional information at this stage before the code is issued).
  • You must take this code to your early years provider or school.
  • Your provider or school will then validate this code with us before your childcare place is agreed.

You must re-confirm your eligibility code every three months from the date you applied. You must do this by signing in to your childcare account. Failure to re-confirm may result in the loss of the extended entitlement funding. You and your partner cannot both have accounts for the same child.

You can find other sources of support for paying for childcare here, including tax-free childcare which you can use alongside your 15 or 30 hours of funded childcare.

Foster carers are eligible for the extended entitlement if they meet the criteria set out above for their own children.

Foster carers who look after early years children from the term after their third birthday can now apply for the 30 hours extended entitlement if they are in paid work outside of their fostering responsibilities. Foster carers will apply via a manual process through the early years funding team, ensuring that applying for the extended entitlement does not impact on the child’s care plan.

The supervising social worker and the child’s social worker will support the declaration as applicable on a case by case basis and the early years funding team will process each application via the eligibility checking service to generate an eligibility code, which the foster carer will then take to their early years childcare provider to be validated as normal.

Foster carers should contact the early years funding team on for more information and support.

Disability access funding (DAF)

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 accessing funded childcare at a North Yorkshire early years funded provider.

To claim this funding you must tell your childcare provider that your child is currently in receipt of disability living allowance.

You will be required to name the specific childcare provider and provide them with a current disability living allowance award letter to enable the claim to be made.

The childcare provider (nominated by the parent on parental agreement) will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £800 in a financial year (April to March). This additional funding is intended to help to eliminate barriers that may prevent children in receipt of disability living allowance from accessing their funded place. You should discuss directly with your childcare provider how this funding is to be used.

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.

More support

You can look at our SEND early years information.

You and your ex-partner need to decide who should apply if you are jointly responsible for your child.

If you cannot decide, both of you must apply separately and HMRC will decide who gets a childcare account.

Apply for your 15 hours Extended Entitlement government funding.

Visit Childcare Choices