Funded early education
The Government provides a funded universal entitlement for all 3 and 4 year old children to attend an early years provider, starting the term after the child's 3rd birthday. This is called Early Years Entitlement, or EYE. The entitlement is designed to be flexible (subject to availability), so that you can choose where you would like your child to go and what hours they will attend. All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours' funded childcare per week. Some children, when all parents or carers are working, may be eligible for an additional 15 hours' funded childcare (called '30 hours').
How the funding is organised
The 15 (or 30) hours' funding is only paid for 38 weeks of the year, making a total of 570 (or 1140) hours of funded childcare per year. Many childcare providers may choose to offer the annual number of funded care hours, but spread over more than 38 weeks, as this may suit families more.
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. Once the funding application is approved, the childcare provider will receive the funding directly.
Check if your child is eligible
To check your eligibility for the 30 hours funded childcare, visit the HMRC Childcare Choices website. If eligible, you will get a code to give to your childcare provider. Eligibility is re-checked every 3 months, and you will receive automatic reminders to do this.
Two year old funded hours
In some circumstances, 2 year old children may also be eligible for funded childcare. For more information, please visit the step by step guide on the GOV.UK website or our funded childcare information pages.
HMRC run a tax-free childcare scheme, which offers a 20% tax rebate on the portion of your income which you spend on childcare. Visit Childcare Choices for more information.
This scheme only applies for people who registered before April 2018. It is known as a 'salary sacrifice' scheme, whereby you save tax and NI paid through your salary on childcare costs.
Find out more
Organisations offering advice and support
Advice Guide – Self Help from Citizens Advice
Funded childcare for 2 year olds
Funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds
Gingerbread (Single Parents, equal families)
Maternity and paternity rights
Maternity pay entitlement calculator
Working Families (rights at work for parents and carers) Freephone: 0300 012 0312
B&NES Children's Centres
Our Children's Centres offer advice and support about various aspects of family life, such as the following:
- Health (with particular focus on ante-natal care, breast feeding, obesity, and healthy lifestyles)
- Early years development
- Childminding groups
- Messy play
- Developing positive parenting
- Early support groups (for children with additional needs or disabilities)
Find your nearest BathNES Children's Centre.
Citizens Advice Bath and North East Somerset
Call 0844 848 7919 or see the Citizens Advice website. Appointments may also be available at your local Children’s Centre.
Job Centre Plus
Call 0845 604 3719 or visit Somerset Hall, Somerset Street, Bath, BA1 1TS. Appointments may be available at local some Children’s Centres for people who are getting Income Support.