Last updated: 23 November 2022

Next review: 23 November 2023

After you apply for 30 hours free childcare

If I am eligible when can my child start receiving the Extended Entitlement?

Eligible children can receive the extra free hours from the start of the term following their third birthday:

Child born between

Can receive the free hours from

1 September to 31 December 

January (Spring term)

1 January to 31 March

April (Summer term)

1 April to 31 August

September (Autumn term)

Please note that you can only claim the extended hours the term following your child's third birthday or the term following the receipt of your eligibility code from HMRC (whichever is the later). Therefore, you must apply the term before your child meets the eligible age to ensure your child can access a place at the start of the term after your child turns three. If not, you will need to wait until the following term to access the 30hr place.

Provided that parents/carers continue to meet the eligibility criteria children can receive the additional hours until they either start in a reception class at a local authority maintained school or reach compulsory school age (which is the school term after their fifth birthday).

What happens if I no longer meet the eligibility criteria?

If your family no longer meets the criteria you will stop being eligible to claim the extra hours. However, there will be a grace period until the start of the next funded period to give you the opportunity to regain employment. If your circumstances change during the grace period you can reapply again and continue to receive the extra hours

You will still be able to receive the Universal 15 hours of Free Childcare for all 3 and 4-year-olds even if you are no longer eligible for the Extended Entitlement.

When can my child use the Extended Entitlement hours?

It is proposed that the free hours will be delivered as flexibly as possible and there is no requirement for them to be taken on a particular day of the week. However, you won’t be able to:

  • have any time before 6am or after 8pm
  • claim more than 10 hours a day
  • claim more than 30 hours a week
  • claim more than 1140 hours per year
  • use the funding at more than two childcare providers in one day

This can be taken as 30 hours per week during term time (38 weeks per year), or it can be stretched over the whole year. This means that fewer hours per week can be taken over more weeks of the year.

For example, you could take your 1140 hours per year in a variety of different ways:

  • over term time e.g. 30hrs per week over 38 weeks;
  • stretched out - 22 hrs per week over 51 weeks (with all year-round childcare provider)
  • for fewer than the full 30hrs e.g. 24 hours per week over 38 weeks

Childcare providers do not have to offer a particular pattern of provision to parents/carers, and some may work in partnership with another childcare provider to offer the 30 hours. For example, a childminder may pick up children after a morning nursery session.

There are a variety of childcare providers in Waltham Forest who deliver the childcare in a number of different ways, so if parents/carers are unable to access their place at their preferred provider they should be able to find an alternative quality childcare place which meets their needs.

What do I have to pay for?

If you wish to use more than 30 hours free childcare per week (term time), you will need to pay for the extra hours. You will need to arrange this with your childcare provider. They must ask you to sign a Waltham Forest parental declaration form and should also provide you with a contract, so it is clear what hours you are paying for and which are included in the free 30 hour free childcare entitlement.

Childcare providers may ask parents/carers for a deposit if they are paying for some of the childcare themselves. If you are only accessing then 30 hours free childcare funding, you may be asked to pay a deposit, but this should be returned to you within the first term of your child attending. Apart from that, there should be nothing else for you to have to pay for.

Childcare providers can charge for extra costs, such as food, and trips but they can’t make this a condition of accessing the free childcare funding for parents/carers who are only taking up their free entitlement hours.  For example, parents/carers must be given the option of bringing a packed lunch for their child, instead of having to pay for meals. Childcare providers should make information about their costs clear and transparent to parents/carers.

Childcare providers should also provide invoices to parents/carers, clearly detailing which hours are free funded hours, and which are chargeable. This invoice should also include any extras the parents have chosen to purchase.