30 Hours Free Childcare

Extended funding (30 Hours)

Extended funding is an extra 15 hours per week (for 38 weeks per year) of free Early Years Childcare offered to the children of working parents or families entering work who meet a government set criteria.

The additional 15 hours will be available to families where:

  • both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family)
  • each parent has a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or living wage and
  • neither parent has an income of more than £100,000 per year

Your child can start in their childcare place the term after they turn 3 years old and have received a valid 30 hours code, whichever is later. Term start dates are 1 September, 1 January and 1 April. Applications for an extended funding code can be made 12 weeks before the child’s 3rd birthday.

All applications are processed and managed by HMRC, you will need to re-confirm your details every 3 months to be able to continue to access your 30 hours of childcare. HMRC will advise you of the date you need to reconfirm by.

Any issues with 30 hour applications should be directed to childcare choices 0300 123 4097 or visit the Childcare Choices website for more information.

How many free hours do I get?

Funding TypeSummer Term (1 Apr to 31 Aug)Autumn Term (1 Sep to 31 Dec)Spring Term (1 Jan to 31 March)Year
Universal Entitlement195 hours210 hours165 hours570 hours
Extended Entitlement195 hours210 hours165 hours570 hours
Combined Entitlement390 hours420 hours330 hours1,140 hours

30 Hours Childcare for working Foster Carers

In September 2018 the government extended its offer of 30 hours free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to include working Foster Carers.

30 hours childcare will be available to foster carers where:

  • access to 30 hours childcare is consistent with the child’s care plan
  • in single-parent foster families, the foster parent is in paid work outside of their fostering responsibilities
  • in dual parent foster families, both foster parents are in paid work outside of their fostering responsibilities
  • in families where only one partner is a foster parent, they must be in paid work outside of the fostering responsibilities and their partner must be in qualifying paid work for each they earn the equivalent of 16 hours at minimum/national living wage per week

To apply:

  • talk to your social worker and see if 30 hours is in the child’s care plan
  • email [email protected] and request a ‘Foster Carers 30 Hours Application Form’
  • return with evidence of your work

If the above conditions are met then you will be sent a code which will allow you to use your entitlement at any OFSTED registered childcare provider who offer the 30 hours extended provision. Foster carers will need to reconfirm their status every 3 months.

Privacy notice

  • information will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018
  • eligibility will be checked by with appropriate government departments (HMRC, DWP and Home Office)
  • any entitlement or change in entitlement status will be shared by the local authority with the school or setting the child attends

Find out more

Further information about the increase in funding entitlement.

For more information email Wirral’s Early Childhood services at [email protected].

Tax-Free Childcare

Find out about the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme on the HMRC website

Childcare Choices

The Childcare Choices website includes a Childcare Calculator which parents can use to compare all the childcare offers available to them and see what is the best offer.


More information 


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