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Detailed below are a number of schemes that may help families meet the cost of childcare.

New childcare offers for working parents

The new 2-year-old childcare parents for working parents came into effect on 1st April 2024 which means eligible working parents can apply for 15 hours of funded childcare for their two-year-old. Children need to have turned 2 on or before 31st March in order to be eligible for the Summer Term.     

To be eligible, each parent needs to be working and earning the equivalent of 16 hours a week at national minimum/living wage and under £100,000 adjusted net income per year.  This means that each parent needs to earn from just over £8,600 per year to be eligible for up to 15 hours per week of childcare over 38 weeks.

This offer will then be extended to include children aged over 9 months old from September 2024, with parents being able to apply for an eligiblity code from 12th May 2024.  All eligiblity codes needs to be applied for or re-verified by 31st August to be eligible for the Autumn Term.  

A Frequently Asked Questions for Parents document is available for download.  This document has been produced by the Department for Education to provide information to help families understand the new extended childcare offers.

Applications for these eligibility codes need to be made via the Childcare Choices website.  Codes should then be given to the childcare providers of your choice.  

There is more information on what childcare support is available to parents on the Childcare Choices website, where you can explore the early education entitlements and other government help towards childcare costs.    

Early education for two year olds - Families in receipt of some government support

Many families across Sunderland can benefit from funded childcare places for two year olds if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.  Full details of the eligibility criteria can be found on Sunderland Information Point or in the Two Year Old Early Education Funding - Application Guidance document in Related Media .

It is quick and simple to apply online using our Family Portal.  Download the Family Portal user guide below which shows you how to log on, create an account and apply online.

To check which childcare providers can offer two year old early education places, visit our childcare directory. 

If your child is eligible you can start claiming funded childcare after your child turns two, depending on when their birthday is. 

  • Children born between 1 April and 31 August will be eligible to a funded place in the Autumn term beginning on or after 1 September
  • Children born between 1 September and 31 December will be eligible to a funded place in the Spring term beginning on or after​ 1 January
  • Children born between 1 January and 31 March will be eligible to a funded place in the Summer term beginning on or after​ 1 April             

Funded early education for three and four year olds

15 hours of funded early education entitlement is available to all children aged three and four years old.  

You can start claiming funded childcare after your child turns three, depending on when their birthday is. The same rules apply as for two year old places.

Details of Ofsted registered childcare providers in Sunderland can also be obtained by visiting our childcare directory or via the Families Information Service on 0191 520 5553.

To access funded early education, please contact the childminder or day nursery of your choice, no eligiblity code is required for these places. 

30 hours funded childcare

Applications for 30 hours funded childcare must be made via the Childcare Choices website, which also provides information about other help that is available to assist with childcare costs. 

A guide to completing your application online can be downloaded from this page. There is also a document containing some Frequently Asked Questions around 30 hours childcare that you may find useful.

Please note: you must have applied for a 30 hour code by the deadline dates below in order for the code to eligible for a specific term:

  • Autumn Term - 31 August
  • Spring Term - 31 December
  • Summer Term - 31 March

Childcare support is expanding, with significant changes coming to 30 hours childcare in England and Universal Credit childcare offers in England, Scotland and Wales.

30 hours funded childcare for foster carers

From September 2018, the Government extended the 30 hours funded childcare scheme to include foster carers if certain criteria are met.  For more information see the attached information or speak to your fostering officer. 

Please note: you must have applied for the 30 hour code before the deadlines outlined above.

Disability Access Fund

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) helps providers to make reasonable adjustments in their settings, either to support an individual child, or for the benefit of all children attending the setting.

A child will be eligible for the funding if they are in receipt of child disability living allowance and are receiving funded early education for two, three and four year olds.  Please note, children will not be eligible if they are in a primary school reception class.

If a child moves settings within the financial year the new setting will not be eligible to receive a payment until the next financial year.

For more information see the Disability Access Fund FAQs document on this page or speak to your childcare provider.

Tax free childcare

Tax free childcare is a Government initiative for working families, including the self-employed, who have children under 12 (or under 17 if disabled).

You can get up to £500 every three months, up to a maximum of £2,000 a year per child. If your child has a disability, this increases to £1,000 every three months up to a maximum of £4,000 a year per child.  If you are eligible you will create a childcare account and for every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2. 

You can use your childcare account to pay for childcare provided by: 

  • childminders
  • nurseries
  • nannies
  • before and after school clubs 
  • holiday clubs.

The childcare provider you use must be registered with Ofsted and registered with the Tax Free Childcare scheme. 

Visit Childcare Choices for more information and for details of how to apply.  

The Childcare Directory provides details of Ofsted registered childcare and other services, activities, and events for families.

For more information email our Families Information Service at Fis@togetherforchildren.org.uk


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