Childcare Costs

Are you entitled to help with childcare costs?

Funded Early Education

The Government provides a funded universal entitlement for all three and four year old children to attend an early years provider, starting the term after a child's 3rd birthday. This is called Early Years Entitlement, or EYE. The entitlement is designed to be flexible so that you can choose where you would like your child to go and what hours they will attend (subject to availability). All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours funded childcare and some children are eligible for an additional 15 hours funded childcare (called ’30 hours’).  The eligibility is for working parent/s.  

The 15 (or 30) hours funding is paid for 38 weeks of the year so your provider may also choose to offer the same total hours in the year but less hours spread over more weeks.

All childcare providers can choose to offer the full 30 hours, the universal 15 hours or somewhere in between. The entitlement is for regular attendance agreed between the parent and childcare provider. Your chosen childcare provider will give you the necessary forms to claim the funding and they are responsible for sending these forms back to the Local Authority. The funding for your child's hours is then paid directly to the childcare provider.

To check your eligibility for the 30 hours funded childcare you must confirm your eligibility via an HMRC online checker on the Childcare Choices website. If eligible, you will be given a code you should give to your childcare provider/s. Eligibility will need to be rechecked at 3 monthly intervals – reminders for rechecking will be issued automatically.  

Two year old funded hours

Some two year olds can also receive the entitlement subject to fulfilling the specified criteria. For more information please visit the step by step information on the GOV.UK website or refer to your local Council’s guidance from the web links at the end of this section.

To check your eligibility for 2 year funding, please visit Bath & North East Somerset's funded childcare information pages.

Tax Free Childcare

HMRC run a tax free childcare scheme which can be accesses through Childcare Choices. This is where the Government adds 20% back into your money to spend on childcare.

Childcare vouchers 

These can only be used if you registered with the scheme before April 2018. This is also known as a 'salary sacrifice' scheme whereby you effectively save tax and NI paid through your salary on childcare costs, but you cannot now join. 

Other useful links:

Advice Guide – Self Help from Citizens Advice

Benefits calculator

Benefits for families

Child benefit

Funded childcare for two year olds

Funded childcare for three and four year olds

Gingerbread (Single Parents, equal families)


Maternity and Paternity Rights

Maternity pay entitlement calculator

Maternity rights at work

Money Advice Service

Tax Credit information 

Universal Credit

Working Families (rights at work for parents and carers) Freephone: 0300 012 0312

Information and Advice

Our Children's Centres offer advice and support about various aspects of family life such as:

  • health (with particular focus on ante-natal care, breast feeding, obesity, and health lifestyles)
  • early years development
  • childminding groups
  • messy play
  • developing positive parenting
  • early support groups (for children with additional needs/disabilities)

Find your nearest BathNES Children's Centre

Citizens Advice Bath and North East Somerset

0844 848 7919 or see the Citizens Advice website. Appointments may also be available at your local Children’s Centre

Job Centre Plus

0845 604 3719
Somerset Hall, Somerset Street, Bath, BA1 1TS
Appointments may be available at local some Children’s Centres for people in receipt of Income Support.