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There is a variety of childcare provision available in Sunderland. You can find a list of all Ofsted registered childcare providers in Sunderland on the Childcare Directory on Sunderland Information Point (link below) or by contacting the Sunderland Families Information Service on 0191 520 5553.  

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

Free early education for two year olds

Many families across Sunderland can benefit from free 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.

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

Free early education for three and four year olds

Free early education entitlement is available to all children aged three and four years old.  

You can start claiming free 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 free early education, please contact the childminder or day nursery of your choice. 

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 free early education for 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.

30 hours free childcare

Applications for 30 hours 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

30 hours free childcare for foster carers

From September 2018, the Government extended the 30 hours free 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.

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). For every £8 you pay in, the Government will add an extra £2, up to a total of £2,000 per child. Visit Childcare Choices for more information.

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

For more information call our Families Information Service on 0191 520 5553.


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