Funding and help with childcare fees.
Free Early Education for Two year old’s (FEET)
Free Early Education for two year old’s (FEET) is an offer of up to 15 hours of free early education and childcare per week. This can only start to be claimed in the term after a child’s second birthday. More info…
Free early education for three and four year old’s (universal)
In England all three and four year old’s are entitled to up to 15 hours of free early education a week for up to 38 weeks a year. This is to give children the opportunity to take part in planned learning activities, and help prepare them for school through the early learning goals set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage. This can only start to be claimed in the term after a child’s third birthday. More info…
Free early education for three and four year old’s (extended)
In addition to the universal funding some parents may be able to claim for up to 30 hours of free early education per week.
Early Years Pupil Premium
The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is additional government funding for childcare providers to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year old’s receiving Free Early Education. This extra funding will be paid directly to childcare providers and is used to better support the early education of your child. More info…
Childcare voucher schemes
Some employers offer their employees childcare vouchers to help with childcare costs through a special government scheme. The vouchers are usually offered in return for a reduction in part of your salary (sometimes called salary sacrifice) and are given back in the form of paper or electronic vouchers.
This is a form of tax-free childcare which enables eligible working families to save 20% of their childcare costs.
Who is eligible to use the scheme?
The scheme will be available for working families where:
- both parents are in work or it is a single parent household
- each parent earns over an average of £50 a week and less than £150,000 a year
- parents aren’t already receiving support through tax credits or universal credit
It can also be used by parents who are:
- on paid sick leave
- on paid or unpaid statutory maternity
- on paternity/adoption leave
Working Tax Credit information
Depending on your personal circumstances and earnings you may be eligible for some financial assistance through Working Tax Credit. This is a top up to wages for people who are on low incomes. To be eligible a single person with children must work at least 16 hours a week and a couple must work a minimum of 24 hours a week between them. This will mean:
if you both work your joint weekly hours must be at least 24, with one of you working at least 16 hours a week.
if only one of you works, that person must be working at least 24 hours a week.
Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit
This is aimed at helping working parents cover childcare costs. Working parents can claim up to 70% of their childcare costs up to a maximum of £122.50 (70% of £175) per week for one child and £210 (70% of £300) for two or more children. Any costs that you pay in excess of these amounts are not used in the calculation.
The childcare must be registered with Ofsted and can include childminders, day nurseries, pre-schools, breakfast clubs, after school clubs, out of school activity clubs and holiday play schemes.
If you are receiving childcare vouchers from your employer it can affect your entitlement to tax credits. By reducing your salary you may be entitled to a higher element of the Working Tax Credit but this could reduce your entitlement to the childcare element of the credit.
If you want to know whether you’d be better off receiving the vouchers or claiming for help with childcare costs through tax credits, you can use the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) better off calculator.
For more information on what type of help may be available to you please visit the Family Information Centre on Surrey County Councils website