England has some of the highest quality childcare provision in the world, with 96% of early years settings rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding. But we recognise that childcare is also one of the biggest costs facing working families today.
That's why, as part of our package in the Spring Budget, we have announced new 30 free hours entitlement for eligible working parents of children aged between nine and 36 months.
Here's what you need to know.
What has been announced?
We are expanding our offer of 30 hours of free childcare per week for eligible working parents with children aged nine months to three years.
This means working parents will be able to claim free childcare all the way through, from nine months up to their child starting school.
The offer will apply to 38 weeks per year. Some providers may ask for charges in addition to the free childcare.
Visit childcarechoices.gov.uk for further information.
When does the 30 hours free childcare start?
The offer will be rolled out in stages, with eligible working parents of two-year-olds able to access 15 hours from April 2024, all eligible working parents of nine months to three-year-olds able to access 15 hours by September 2024, and the offer increased to the full 30 hours for these parents by September 2025.
Why won't this be available until 2025?
This is a massive expansion in the offer and will take some time to implement and rollout.
The staggered approach will give childminders and nurseries time to prepare for the changes, ensuring there are enough places ready to meet demand.
We want to make sure that taxpayers' money is used efficiently, and the new offer is delivered in the best way.
What is the existing offer for free childcare?
Currently, we offer 15 hours per week of free childcare or early education for all three and four-year-olds, rising to 30 hours for working families, and 15 hours for disadvantaged two-year-olds.
We have already spent more than £20 billion over the past five years to support families with the cost of childcare.
Am I eligible for free childcare?
Working parents who individually earn more than £8,670 (from April) but less than £100,000 adjusted net income per year are eligible.
You can find out more info on support available on the Childcare Choices website.
You can read more about childcare from the Spring budget here.