Early Years Service - Information for Parents

Help with Childcare Costs

Financial support is available if you and your family meet certain criteria

Funded Early Years Education (EYE) is also available to some two and all three and four year olds in school nursery classes, state or private nursery schools, day nurseries or pre-schools and with approved childminders.


For support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, please view our SEN AdvisoryTeam web pages to discover information on the services/ support that may be available.

1. Childcare Choices

You can check what help you may get with childcare by looking at the Government’s Childcare Choices website.  Whether you have toddlers or teens, you may be eligible to get support with childcare costs.

2. Child Benefit

You can receive Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).


3. Child Tax Credit (moving to Universal Credit)

 You could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they’re:

  • under 16
  • under 20 and in eligible education or training

Please note: You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.

The amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances. Child Tax Credit will not affect your Child Benefit.


4. Working Tax Credit (moving to Universal Credit)

Working Tax Credit supports working households on low incomes by topping up earnings.

It is made up of a number of elements depending on your circumstances. For example, extra amounts are available to those who work at least 30 hours a week and to those who are working and have a disability. It also includes an element to help with the costs of Ofsted registered or approved childcare, known as the childcare element.


5. Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work. Whether you can claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your circumstances. You can get help with your childcare costs for two children.

Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Please note: If you currently receive any of these benefits, you cannot claim Universal Credit at the same time.

How to applyp>

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. You do not need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances.


6. Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is a savings account scheme that offers working families government support towards qualifying (approved) childcare costs.


7. Support from your employer

Employees should seek advice from their employer about the following support:

  • Childcare voucher schemes (now closed for new applicants).
  • Employer subsidised childcare.
  • National Health Service employees childcare allowance.


8. Help if you are in education

Students should talk to their college, sixth form or university about the funding that is available, some of the funding types are listed below:

  • Care to Learn
  • Discretionary Learner Support
  • 16 - 19 Bursary Fund
  • Advanced Learner Loan
  • Higher Education Childcare Grant
  • Parents' Learning Allowance


9. National Insurance credits for adults who care for a child under 12

National Insurance credits may help to fill in any gaps in your National Insurance record. This can mean that you will still get the full State Pension and other benefits.


10. Care To Learn scheme

If you are under 20 and studying, the Care To Learn scheme may be able to help. To find out more about the Care To Learn scheme, please visit GOV.UK website.

Student, parents, carers over the age of 20 and in receipt of certain benefits may also receive help with the cost of childcare from discretionary funds administered by colleges/training providers.