Government funding is available from the start of a term following a child’s 3rd birthday. This is 15 hours free per week for children aged 3 years and above. The start dates for 3-year-old funding are shown below: 

  Child’s Birthday 
Autumn Term (begins 1st September)  1st April to 31st August 
Spring Term (begins 1st January)  1st September to 31st December 
Summer Term (begins 1st April)  1st January to 31st March 

Think 2 

Funding is also available for eligible 2-year-old children. The criteria for eligibility is based on the family claiming any of the following: 

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) 
  • Child Tax Credit and have an Annual income not over £16,190 (CTC) 
  • Working Tax Credit and have an Annual income not over £16,190 (WTC) 
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit 
  • Support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit) 
  • Universal Credit 

2-year-old children are also eligible if they: 

  • Have a current statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC) * 
  • Attract Disability Living Allowance (DLA) * 
  • They are Looked after by their Local Authority 
  • Have left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order * 

* Documentation will be required as proof where an application is made against these additional criteria. Copies of the documentation can be posted or emailed to the Think2 Team. 

Please note: If your circumstances change your funded place will not be taken away. 

An application can be made online at https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/education/childcare/families/EarlyEducation/think2/apply-online/Apply-Online.aspx 

30 Hour Funding 

From September 2017 some families could receive an additional 15 hours of funded childcare making up to 30 hours of funded childcare per week. This can be taken over 38 weeks over the year. Families must at least meet the minimum earnings criteria and apply to HMRC. 

The eligibility criteria are as follows: 

Each parent (or lone parent) earns at least the minimum equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum wage or national living wage, this equates to earning at least: 

  • £120 per week (or £6000 a year) for each parent aged 25 years and older. 
  • £112.80 per week (or £5800 a year) for each parent aged 21-24 years. 

Some families: 

  • Could be eligible where one or both parents are unable to work due to paid maternity leave, paternity leave, statutory sick, shared parental or adoption leave.
     
  • Where one parent meets the earnings criteria but the other parent is unable to work due to being disabled, having carer responsibilities or they have been assessed for having limited capacity to work.   
  • Where one parent is in the ‘start up period’ (newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate they meet the income criteria for 12 months. 

If you are unable to work, find out full details to see if you can qualify through the extended criteria. 

You will not be eligible if:   

  • Either parent earns more than £100,000 a year.
  • Either parent is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control and has no recourse to public funds. 

Parents apply on the HMRC website Childcare Choices who check and confirm eligibility. Parents who do not have internet access should contact the HMRC Customer Interaction Centre on 0300 123 4097. 

If parents are successful the following will take place: 

  • If successful in the application parents will then be sent a code by HMRC to the Gateway Account. This code must be passed onto the childcare provider who will validate the code with their local authority. 
  • Parents who have difficulty with their account or retrieving their code should contact the HMRC Customer Interaction Centre. 
  • Parents should discuss with their childcare provider how the funded hours can be taken with them. 
  • Important: every 3 months parents will be prompted by HMRC via text or email to log into the Gateway Account and reconfirm details and eligibility. 
  • If a family falls out of the eligibility criteria, they will be offered a grace period of funding before the additional 15 hours stop. 

Should you require any further information or assistance in applying for any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact our Chairperson, Nikki Johns on 07706 244396 or chair@hixonpreschool.co.uk