Helping parents understand 30 hours (England)
30 hours free childcare sounds like most parents' dream. But there's more to it than that. Many have argued that the word "free" is causing major problems for providers - especially those whose local authority hourly rate falls short of the charge they currently make to parents.
We've produced a wealth of information to help you explain the scheme to parents, and also to help them understand what exactly is covered by "free". The government also has support for parents to get the information they need.
Parents can find out what childcare options are available to them at Childcare Choices - a new government website. It includes interactive features that will help parents understand whether they are eligible for the various forms of help the government is offering.
This chart shows how all the available funding streams interact with each other.
Consider signposting parents directly to Childcare Choices when starting to talk to them about funded childcare. They should be able to tell you whether they are eligible.
The website is comprehensive and covers all available support:
- 15 hours free childcare
- 30 hours free childcare
- Tax-free childcare
- Tax credits for childcare
- Universal credit for childcare
- Childcare vouchers
- Care to Learn support for studying parents
The government's childcare calculator is a simple tool for parents to check what help they could get with childcare costs. They will need information about them and their partner (if they have one), including:
- how much they spend on childcare
- any benefits they or their child get
- their income
Armed with this information, parents should be able to work through the calculator in 10 minutes or so to get a clear idea of how much support they could be eligible for.
We have produced the following handy guides for parents to help you explain funded hours to parents.
Download our one-page guide for parents
FAQs for parents on 30 hours
30 hours: 10 things all providers need to know