An exciting expansion to the support for childcare was announced in 2023, allowing more families within England to access funding support towards childcare. At Rosedene, we’re proud to be offering this support across our 10 nurseries in the North East. However, we know that these upcoming changes are of course exciting, but also confusing, and many families are left feeling uncertain on not only how to access the funding, but also how this affects the childcare sector.
We thought we’d break down what to expect from the April 2024 changes which will be benefiting families of children aged 2 years old, providing them with 15 hours of funded childcare per week.
Who is eligible?
Funding is dependent on some eligibility, such as the income of parents and the birth date of children. You can check your eligibility on the Childcare Choices Website. And we have provided the birth dates below along with the relevant eligible terms.
What does the funding include and exclude?
Funded childcare is only available for 38 weeks of the year, which is normally referred to as ‘Term time only’ meaning that for the remaining 14 weeks of the year, families will need to pay the full amount of childcare. Some nurseries, such as Rosedene, offer as an option ‘stretched funding’ where families can stretch their funding across the year by reducing the funded hours each week.
Funded childcare only covers certain costs within a nursery environment, what it doesn’t cover are consumable items such as food, snacks, drinks, nappies, wipes, trips, events and resources within the nursery. Which is why it’s important that ‘funded’ childcare is not to be confused with ‘free childcare’.
How and when to apply?
You’ll need to either log into your Government Gateway account or create a new one, this isn’t a long process but you’ll need a few things to get this started. Your National Insurance Number, access to your mobile phone or a landline and details of one of more of the following – your UK Passport, tax credits, P60 or a recent payslip.
There will be a section called ‘Free Childcare For Working Parents’ here is where your code will be shown for each child eligible. This code will need to be sent to your nursery manager to check your eligibility with the local authority.
Families who are to benefit from the funding come April 2024, are recommended to apply from mid January to mid February to ensure you are prepared with the valid codes for the funding.
You have to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. If you apply more than 3 months before the term starts, you’ll have to reconfirm your eligibility in your account in order to keep your code valid.
For families already using Tax Free Childcare, you’ll be able to apply for your code when you re-confirm your 3 month eligibility within your Tax Free Childcare account. Due to the new term in April starting around 8th April in many counties, we recommend applying in mid January.
In some cases you may need your child’s NHS number to check eligibility or your codes, an easy way to find this out is by visiting www.nhs.uk/find-nhs-number/what-is-your-name
22nd January 2024 Update – The Government have announced, to support families who are unable to re-confirm their eligibility before mid February, they will be sending out letters to all families with a temporary code to use. They have asked for families to await this letter containing the code before chasing the HMRC.
It is also important to speak with your nursery to ensure they are aware of any changes you are planning to make due to the childcare, and that your required sessions are available. With the expansion looking to benefit more families, the childcare sector is expecting to be busier than ever, and availability will be limited across many nurseries within England.
For more information on funded childcare that may be available to you, you can visit Childcare Choices website where you can check your eligibility and sign up for updates to be emailed for you.
If you are looking to secure your child’s place at one of our nurseries head to our contact page, where you can also call our 10 nurseries directly to ask any questions.