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New Childcare Under 2 Years Funding: Essential Details and Application Deadlines

8 Jul 2024
News

New Childcare Under 2 Years Funding: Essential Details and Application Deadlines

Nurseries and preschools can help give your child the very best start to life: They can assist with developing physical co-ordination and control, social and emotional engagement with others outside their family unit, and can help prepare the necessary skills for when your child starts reception class at school.

However, in 2024 finding affordable, high-quality childcare for a working parent has been a challenge. That’s why the UK Government has recently introduced a new under 2 years funding scheme that provides 15 hours of free childcare per week for families who live in England and have children starting from 9 months to 2 year olds.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the new 15 hours of free childcare scheme, including if you are eligible, how to apply, and the crucial deadlines you need to meet so you don’t miss out!

What is the new 2 years funding?

From September 2024, parents who live in England with children aged between 9 and 23 months can access 15 hours of free childcare a week, over the course of 38 weeks. This initiative aims to support working parents, making it easier to balance work commitments, cover childcare costs, while ensuring their children receive high-quality childcare.

The Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for this 15 hours of funded childcare per week, families must meet specific eligibility requirements which are…

Employment

In order to get free childcare, both parents (or a single parent in a single-parent household) must be working and earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week. Self-employed parents are also eligible if they meet this earnings threshold.

Income Limits

Families are eligible for free childcare for under 2 years, if each parent must have a regular income of less than £100,000 per year.

Child’s Age

The child must be aged between 9 months and 23 months as of 31st August 2024.

Parents who meet these criteria are eligible for free childcare, which will be effective from the term after their child turns 9 months old. The terms start on 1st January, 1st April, and 1st September each year​​.

The Application Process

Many will be relieved to know that applying for the under 2 years old free childcare funding is fairly straightforward.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you need to do:

Gather Necessary Information

Before starting the free childcare application, ensure you have the following details:

  • National Insurance number (or Unique Taxpayer Reference if self-employed)
  • Your child’s birth certificate reference number
  • Details of any government support or certain benefits you receive.

Apply Online

Visit the Gov.uk website and complete the application form. The application portal for these funded hours opens on 12th May 2024 and takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Although there’s no limit on the number of codes available, we recommend you apply early so you don’t miss your place with your preferred childcare provider!

Approval and Code Issuance

Once your application is approved, you will receive a childcare code for your funded hours. This code, along with your National Insurance number and your child’s date of birth, must be presented to your chosen childcare provider at the time of registering.

Reconfirmation

Remember, your code needs to be reconfirmed every three months to continue with this childcare support.

For example, if you apply before 1st June 2024, you will need to reconfirm your code before the start of the September term to maintain your entitlement​​.

Important Deadlines

Many working parents might not know that to start nursery on a desired date and get free childcare, you would need to apply for your funding by a certain deadline.

Here’s all the funded childcare deadlines you need to know:

  • For childcare starting in September 2024 – Apply by the 31st August 2024 deadline.
  • For childcare starting in January 2025 – Apply by the 31st December 2024 deadline.
  • For childcare starting in April 2025 – Apply by the 31st March 2025 deadline.

It’s recommended to apply at least six weeks before these above deadlines to ensure you receive your code in time to secure your funded childcare with your chosen nursery.

Some childcare providers may request codes even earlier! So it’s wise to communicate with your chosen provider to confirm their specific requirements​​.

Preparing for the Application

With all of the above in mind, we recommend you take the following steps to prepare for your under 2 year olds funding:

Contact your desired provider early

Contact your chosen childcare provider directly as soon as possible to discuss availability for your child, and extra costs that might be in place and any specific deadlines they might have for submitting your code.

Get your supporting documents in order

Ensure all necessary documents and information are ready to go before starting your funded childcare application. This will minimise issues and make the application process quick and pain free as possible.

Complete your application in advance

Just because the official application deadline for the September start date is 31 August, doesn’t mean you can’t apply earlier!

Aim to complete your application form by the start of the school summer holidays to avoid any last-minute issues.

Other things to Consider…

Maternity, paternity, or adoption leave

It’s important to know that parents currently on leave can still apply for these funded hours. If you plan to return to work by the end of September 2024, you can still apply from 12 May 2024.

Foster Carers

There is a separate application process for foster carers. Speak with your social worker before completing the applications for specific guidance​​ and further support.

We hope this gives you all the tools you need to apply for the new government funded childcare for under 2 year olds.

By understanding if you are eligible, application process, and deadlines, we hope you are fully prepared to complete your application form to get free childcare with little set backs and get your funded places with your chosen childcare provider.

For more information on other funded childcare options such as tax free childcare and universal credit, make sure you check out the Childcare Choices website.

No need to wait! Book a Visit at a Grandir UK Nursery today!

Grandir UK is an early years childcare provider with many nurseries and preschools all across England that provide exceptional childcare from 9 months to 4 years olds, ensuring they grow and thrive, not just for school but for life!

Don’t wait and miss your spot! Book a personalised visit at your nearest Grandir UK nursery with our Parent Engagement Team in time to apply for the Government funding, and see the awe and wonder we inspire in children everyday!

To read more on why a Grandir UK nursery would be the right childcare provider for you and the following benefits we can offer, read this article here!

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