Currently, all families of three and four year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours Early Years Free Entitlement (EYFE) per week, for up to 38 weeks of the year. From September 2017 working parents of three and four year olds will be eligible for an additional 15 hours a week childcare which is being referred to as 30 Hours Free Childcare.
If spread over a whole year, the current 570 hours of free childcare these parents get will increase to 1140 hours.
Children are eligible from the term following their 3rd birthday until they reach compulsory school age.
Both parents (or the sole parent, if a one parent family), will need to be in work and earning the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the National Minimum Wage. This will be inclusive of those families receiving tax credits or universal credit. Parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week, but no more than £100,000 a year.
Eligibility will continue should a parent be away from work temporarily (sick or maternity). Families where one parent is working and the other has a disability or substantial caring responsibilities should also be eligible.
Some providers already offer childcare 51 weeks of the year. More might consider this option so that parents can find childcare that meets their needs. If the funded offer is spread across 51 weeks instead of 38 weeks term time only, then it would equate to an estimate of 22 hours per week.
Some providers may choose not to offer 30 hours of childcare, especially if a provider does not have the resources or staff to extend their services. You can look for other providers however, even those outside of Torbay. Each provider should have an admissions policy which will state which parents or children receive priority. Your 30 hours funding can also be split between two providers.
Providers are being encouraged to be flexible and explore ways in which they can meet the needs of their families. This could be easier for some providers than others depending on their location and facilities. Discuss your working patterns with your local providers to see which can accommodate you favorably. You could also use more than one provider and split the funding. (You would have to make sure that they are aware of this if you choose to do so).
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