Money Wellness
Illustrated working mum at desk holding toddler
category iconMoney Saver
calendar icon14 Mar 2024

When can parents apply for free childcare for two year olds?

The government has expanded free government funded childcare so that thousands more families can access childcare whilst working.

Currently, parents who work and earn the equivalent of 16 hours a week on national minimum wage are entitled to 30 hours free childcare a week for children aged three to four.

What’s changing?

From April this year, eligible working parents will now be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare for children aged 2.

It’ll be rolled out in stages.

What does the government mean by working parents?

The government states that working parents class as:

  • Individually earn more than £8,670 but less than £100,000 a year.
  • For couples, the rules apply to both parents, so both must earn at least £8,670 and neither can earn more than £100,000

When can I apply for free childcare?

Applications for the first stage opened on 2nd January for those needing childcare from April.

Parents will be asked to confirm that they are still eligible for the support every 3 months.

From September 2024, 15 hours of free childcare will be extended to all children from the age of 9 months. You can apply for this on May 12th.

From September 2025, working parents of children under the age of five will be entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week.

All applications for the first phase end on 31st March.

If your child is already two years old or will have had their 2nd birthday on or before 31st  March and you’ve not already applied, you must register before the deadline or risk missing out.

Apply for free childcare, and find out what else you may be eligible for.

If you're a childminder looking after children who are entitled to free childcare, the government has said you will get a grant of:

  • £600 if you register with Ofsted.
  • £1,200 if you register with a childminder agency.

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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