Paying for childcare

Childcare costs differ for each provider.  Search the childcare section of this website to find your chosen provider and find out the costs.

    To qualify for help with childcare costs the childcare provider you use must be registered by Ofsted.

    There are different kinds of help you can get with the cost of childcare:

    Funded Early Education places

    All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 15 hours per week early education or childcare each year. Some 2-year-olds are also eligible.  Find out more on the GOV.UK website.

    From September 2017, children with working parents will be entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week.   

    Tax-Free Childcare scheme

    Tax-free childcare is officially OPEN – here’s how to apply Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

    All working parents with children up to the age of 12 can now apply for the Government’s tax free childcare scheme – it has been confirmed.

    The initiative, which was announced April last year, means that parents can save up to £2,000 a year on childcare costs.

    Parents who meet the requirements can apply online by setting up an account – which is then topped up by Government contributions.

    This therefore means that an extra 20p will be added for every 80p you spend.

    While this has previously been capped for children up to the age of nine – this has now changed with the age limit being 12.

    Check the GOV.UK childcare calculator to see whether this scheme is the best offer for you.

    Tax Credits

    There are two types of tax credits you may be able to claim:

    Childcare vouchers

    Your employer can provide you with childcare vouchers which can be used towards the cost of your childcare. You can choose your own childcare provider, but they must be registered with Ofsted.

    The vouchers may be offered as a benefit on top of your ordinary pay or through a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme where you permanently give up some ordinary pay in return for vouchers. You don't have to pay income tax or national insurance on childcare vouchers.

    However, claiming childcare vouchers may affect how much you can get from tax credits.

    Use the childcare calculator (GOV.UK website) to see what would be best for you.

    Childcare grants for students

    If you are a student and you have children, there are a few schemes which may be able to help you cover childcare costs:

    • If you're a full-time student in higher education, you may be able to apply for a Childcare Grant and claim up to 85% of your childcare costs.
    • If you're aged 20 or over and are in further education (e.g. studying for an NVQ, BTEC or PGCE) you may be able to apply for Discretionary Learner Support.
    • If you’re studying and aged under 20 at the start of your course, you may be able to apply under the Care to Learn scheme.

    Universal Credit

    If you're eligible for Universal Credit, you may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs.