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30 Hours Free Childcare
1. What is 30 hours Free Childcare?
This is a new entitlement for working parents of 3 and 4 year old children which will be introduced in September 2017. This is an additional 15 hours per week entitlement in addition to the child’s existing 15 hour free early education place.
This whole new entitlement of 30 hours free childcare can be offered term time only (over 38 weeks) or can be stretched across the whole year to meet parental needs.
2. Who is eligible for 30 Hours Free Childcare?
All parents in the household work at least 16 hours a week and earn at least £107 per week up to a maximum salary of £100, 000 per parent in the household.
Self employed parents and parents on zero-hours contracts will be eligible if they meet the average earnings criteria.
1 parent is employed and 1 parent is disabled or incapacitated, based on receipt of specific benefits 1 parent is employed and 1 parent has substantial caring responsibilities, based on specific benefits received for caring.
Both parents are employed but 1 or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
Both parents are employed but 1 or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay.
For up to date information on eligibility please visit
3. How will the school know who are their eligible parents?
It will be parent’s responsibility to apply for 30 hours free childcare via the online HMRC eligibility checker. Parents will receive a voucher code if they are eligible which they will be told to show their chosen provider. The voucher code will enable you to claim funding from the local authority.
4. How does the 30 hour free childcare fit with the nursery admissions process 2017 – 2018?
There is no change to the admission process for 2017 – 2018. Parents will apply online and you will receive these applications through the system as usual. Schools will make their offers for the 15 hour free early education place through that system to parents. Normal admission rules will apply in this years process. The online system enables schools to inform parents of the free early education places you have available and if the school intends to offer 30 hours free childcare.
5. What information are parents receiving about 30 hours free childcare?
In January 2017 the county council will be starting a communication campaign to inform parents of the new 30 hours free childcare entitlement. This will include using social media, websites, leaflets and posters .In February 2017 parents will receive the nursery admissions information leaflet in the post and this will also detail the 30 hours free childcare entitlement.
6. Do schools have to offer 30 hours Free Childcare?
It will be a governing body decision if schools extend their provision to include 30 hours free childcare for eligible parents. Participation is optional.
7. Does the whole 30 hours free childcare have to be staffed by a teacher?
How children are funded will make no difference to how the ratios set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework apply. For the maintained school day (9.00-3.00pm) if the children (age 3 and 4) in a nursery class are pupils then paragraph 3.37 in the EYFS applies. If they are not registered pupils in the school the ratios set out in paragraphs 3.33 or 3.34 will apply.
Where nursery pupils (age 3 and 4) attend provision run by the school that operates outside of the school day, footnote 22 on page 23 in the EYFS can apply. This says that ‘where children in nursery classes attend school for longer than the school day or in the school holidays, in provision run directly by the governing body or the proprietor, with no teacher present, a ratio of one member of staff to every eight children can be applied if at least one member of staff holds a full and relevant level 3 qualification, and at least half of all other staff hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification’.
8. In delivering the 30 hours free childcare what must the school consider in planning this new offer to parents?
What is the demand for 30 hours free childcare likely to be from your parents?
9. Do schools have to make all their free early education places now 30 hour places?
Schools are not required to turn all their current 15 hour free early education places into 30 hour places. However schools do need to consider the current offer to parents, the nursery environment and impact on staff ratios and financial implications in the school decision making process.
10. Does the school have to offer the full 30 hours?
Schools are not required to offer the full 30 hours and have to consider the above factors in their decision making process. This is the same as the above. An alternative approach a school can take is to work in partnership with other local early years and childcare providers who can offer the additional hours a school cannot offer.
11. Do parents who want a 30 hour free childcare now take priority over parents who want the 15 hour free early education place in the 2017 – 2018 nursery admissions process?
No normal admission rules apply
12. If a school wants to offer the 30 hours free childcare who do the school need to inform?
The decision to offer parents 30 hours free childcare is a governing body decision. Once the decision is taken to offer the 30 hours free childcare parents should be informed at the earliest opportunity and information made available to parents on what will be offered. The school should also post this information on the online nursery admissions system so parents are aware at application stage.
In order for Hertfordshire County Council to plan places across the county we would ask schools to inform Childhood Support Services of their decision to offer places by completing an online survey which confirm the schools intention to offer 30 hour free childcare places This survey will be available on the grid to complete from January 2017 . Once this survey goes live schools will be contacted to complete.
13. How much will schools be paid for per hour for a 30 hour place?
Hertfordshire County Council are awaiting confirmation of the hourly rate. Schools Forum will be agreeing the new local hourly rate for all free early education and childcare places for 3 and 4 year olds. The decision will be shared with schools ASAP.
14. Is there any additional support available for schools in delivering the 30 hours free childcare entitlement?
Hertfordshire County Council will be offering briefing sessions in early February which will cover all aspects of the 30 hour free childcare entitlement. These briefings will be publicised in the schools bulletin in January 2017 with the venue locations, times and how to book a place.
15. What will happen if the school do not offer 30 hours free childcare?
The impact on your school will be determined by the needs of local parents. We advise that schools undertake their own market research. If you have many local parents that want 30 hours free childcare and the school does not offer it, they may apply for a place at a setting that can meet their needs, which would impact on your admission numbers.
16. If the school decide not to offer 30 hours free childcare who do the school need to inform and how else can the school support parents in receiving this new entitlement?
Please make parents aware at the earliest opportunity if you decide not to offer the 30 hours free childcare so they can make an informed choice.
An alternative approach a school can take is to work in partnership with other local early years and childcare providers who can offer the additional hours a school cannot offer. The partnership can be developed with other schools, childminders, pre-schools and day nurseries. This approach has proved successful in the 30 hour trial and enables schools to be part of the new entitlement and parents a choice of provision which will meet their requirements.
The Department of Education have published a toolkit to support schools in delivering the 30 hours free childcare entitlement.
This can be found at
Resources for Schools
Modelling 30 Hour Delivery in Schools in Hertfordshire
Delivering 30 Hours Free Childcare in Hertfordshire Schools
30 Hours at Norton St. Nicholas
Extended Hours Toolkit - April 2016
Evaluating a quality offer for a child accessing 30 hours childcare entitlement
30 Free Hours Logo (JPG/610kb)
Free Early Education and Childcare for 3 & 4 year olds Leaflet