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30 Hours Childcare

In September 2017 the 30 hours “free” childcare for working parents is being introduced.  There is a lot of confusion around 30 hours – we are exploring the topic below. 
 
What is the 30-hour offer? Can I get free childcare for my children? ELIGIBILITY You will be eligible for the 30-hour funded childcare offer if:
  • You earn more than the equivalent of 16 hours at the national living wage or minimum wage per week: for example, £120 per week if you are 25 or older. .     
    Apprentices are also eligible as long as they earn the equivalent to 16 hours at the apprentice minimum wage.  You are eligible if you are self-employed or on a zero hours contract if you can show you meet the minimum threshold as an average over the next 3 month period you are applying for.
AND
  • You earn less than £100,000 per year.
HMRC will look at data such as your previous earnings to consider whether you are likely to meet the criteria and may contact you for further information if they are unsure.  You will need to provide a Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number to HMRC so that they can check your income at the end of the tax year. If you are not working but you expect to take up paid work within 14 days, you can still apply for 30 hours, as long as you expect to meet the income criteria over the coming three months. If you are a single parent and meet the above criteria, you will be eligible for the 30 hours. If you live with a partner, you both must meet the above criteria. This still applies if one of you is not the child’s parent – for example, if you have remarried or have started living with a new partner. If you are separated/divorced from your child’s parent, the eligibility rules will only apply to the parent that the child normally lives with (and their new partner if they are part of the same household).
  Exceptions You will not have to meet the minimum earnings criteria if:
  • You and your partner are employed but one or both of you is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity or paternity, adoption leave, or on statutory sick pay
  • You are employed but your partner either has substantial caring responsibilities, or is disabled or incapacitated, or vice versa (i.e. your partner is employed but you have caring responsibilities or are disabled or incapacitated). This is dependent on you or your partner being entitled to specific disability or caring benefits.
  SIGNING UP FOR THE 30-HOURS You will be able to apply for both the 30-hour offer and tax-free childcare using a single application available online via the Childcare Service. To complete the application, you will need to provide details such as your name, address and national insurance number, as well as whether you expect to meet the income requirements over the next three months and whether you are in receipt of any benefits. If you live with a partner, you will need to provide the same information for them as well. This will enable HMRC to decide whether your child is eligible for the 30 hours (as well as tax-free childcare). If you are eligible, you will be given an 11-digit code that you will need to take to your childcare provider along with your national insurance number and your child’s birth certificate. More2childcare will then use the government’s eligibility checking system to check the code is valid. If it is, we will be able to book your child’s place.  You will need to reconfirm your eligibility every three months and will receive a reminder text message or email from the government before the deadline. If you give false information about your eligibility, you could be fined up to £3000.  
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE 30-HOURS OFFER Q: My child is going to turn three next year. How soon can I access the 30-hours? A: Your child will be eligible for the 30 hours offer from the term after they turn three, or the term after you receive your eligibility code – whichever is later.
For example, if your child turns three on 25 March, and you apply for the 30-hours on 27 March, your child will be eligible for a place from 1 April (i.e. the start of the spring term). However, if your child turns three on 25 March but you don’t apply for the 30 hours until 5 April, your child won’t be eligible for a place until 1 September (i.e. the start of the autumn term).  
Q: If I’m not eligible for the 30-hour offer, can I still get my 15 hours? A: Yes. The 15-hour offer is still universal so if you’re not eligible for a 30-hour place, you will still be eligible for the 15-hour offer.  
Q: What happens if I become ineligible for the offer e.g. because I lose my job? A: If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, your child’s 30-hour place will continue to be funded for a ‘grace period’. If you do fall out of eligibility you should alert More2childcare immediately.   Once the grace period has expired, you will still be eligible for the 15-hour funded childcare offer.  
Q: Is there any difference in how the first 15 hours and the second 15 hours under the 30-hour offer will be delivered? A: No, there is no difference. Childcare providers will provide early years care and education that follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework across the whole 30 hours.  
 ACCESSING 30-HOURS PLACES: THINGS TO KNOW Early years providers don’t have to offer the 30-hours Like the 15-hour offer, the 30-hour scheme is optional for providers.  This is mostly because the level of funding received from the government isn’t enough to cover the cost of delivering places, or because they do not have enough staff to deliver the extended offer.  More2childcare supports working families so we have signed up to the scheme.  
30-hour funding only covers 38 weeks of the year The actual government funded entitlement is for 1140 hour per year.  More2childcare is choosing to offer a ‘stretched offer’ i.e. fewer hours per week over more weeks of the year: for example, 22.8 hours per week over 50 weeks or the year. 
What will More2childcare offer?   
The funding only covers the cost of providing the education - it doesn't include meals, snacks, drinks, extra curricular classes or consumables involved in the care of children.  
The department of education has therefore agreed that nursery providers can charge an optional “additional services charge” to cover the elements the funding does not cover (and in recognition it does not cover all our costs).  This additional services charge is included if parents sign up to the fees only contract.    
Any parent wanting to claim 30 hours at the nursery but who doesn’t want to pay the additional services can chose our funded hours only contract.  On this contract children will need to be picked up during the lunch hour to have lunch at home.  This is due to 4 reasons.  1) The funding doesn’t cover the cost of food 2) We have invested into a service for all children at the nursery to ensure they have a hot cooked lunch, nutritionally balanced to meet the needs of under 5s.  3) We do not have cold storage facilities for packed lunches. 4) We strive for unity across the nursery
There are more resources to explain the 30 hours below: http://yournurserybusiness.co.uk/30-hours-video Please contact us for further details and to discuss availability for September.
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