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Help With Childcare Costs


Paying for childcare (age 0 to 16 years)

To see all the options available to help with childcare costs for children under 17 years old, see the Childcare Choices website.


Free childcare places (age 2 years) 

If you get certain benefits or credits or your child has special educational needs you may be able to get 15 hours free childcare per week. Find out more about free places for 2 year olds.

Search for a 2 year old childcare provider.


Free childcare places (age 3 to 4 years)

All 3 and 4 year old children get 15 hours free childcare per week. Working parents may be able to get additional hours through the 30 hours free childcare scheme. Find out more about free places for 3 and 4 year olds.

Search for a 3 and 4 year old childcare provider.

How to get a 30 hours free childcare code.


Starting reception class in school (age 4 years)

Children can start in reception class from the September after their 4th birthday. You can apply from around a year in advance but you must submit your application no later than 15th January in the calendar year the place will start. Find out more about school admissions.


Free school meals (age 4 to 16 years) 

If you have a low income and receive certain benefits or credits, you may be able to get a free school meal. All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 automatically get a free school meal. If you meet the criteria you should still apply as you can get extra funding for your school. Find out if you are eligible.

Apply for free school meals


Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Find out about additional support available for parent carers of children with SEND in early years childcare.


Childcare brokerage

If you are having difficulty finding a childcare place to meet your needs we can support you by talking through your requirements and contacting childcare providers for you. Find out more about additional help finding childcare.