Childcare

Childcare provisions in Sunderland

Childcare for key workers during covid-19

Together for Children is working closely with all of our providers in order to ensure that key workers are able to find the childcare they need during this time. If you are a key worker and your regular childcare provider can no longer provide the care you need for your child, please contact our Families Information Service on 0191 520 5553.

There are a variety of childcare provisions available in Sunderland.

Details of all Ofsted registered childcare providers in Sunderland can be found in our childcare directory or by contacting the Sunderland Families Information Service on 0191 520 3332.

Free early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

There are currently three separate government funded childcare schemes that offer free childcare for children aged two, three and four. 

  • 15 hours free early education for 2 year olds
  • 15 hours free childcare for all 3 & 4 year olds
  • 30 hours free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds (available for eligible families in work)

Each of the free childcare schemes has different eligibility criteria, but all must be with an approved childcare provider. 

15 hours free early education for 2-year olds

Many families across Sunderland can benefit from free education places for two year olds if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.  It is quick and simple to apply online using our Family Portal.  There is a "Family Portal User Guide" (below) which you can download that 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 2, 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.

15 hours free early education for 3 and 4 year olds

15 hours 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 3, depending on when their birthday is.  The same rules apply as for two year old places, see table above.  To access free early education, simply please contact the childminder or nursery of your choice.

For details of childcare providers in Sunderland who are able to offer early education places for 3 & 4 year olds visit our childcare directory. 

30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

This Government initiative offers working families with children aged 3 and 4 years an extra 15 hours of free childcare, meaning parents can access up to 30 hours per week of free childcare.

Applications for this scheme must be made via the Childcare Choices website, which also provides information about other schemes and help that can be accessed to help pay towards childcare costs. 

A guide to completing your application online - "Gov.uk childcare portal guide" can be downloaded from this page.  There is also "Frequently Asked Questions for Parents - 30 hours childcare" that you may find useful.

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

  • Autumn Term - 31st August
  • Spring Term - 31st December
  • Summer Term - 31st 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 is met.  For more "30 hours free childcare for Children in Foster Care - Application Process" 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

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.

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 (DLA) and are receiving the universal 15 hours free early education for 3 and 4 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 "Disability Access Fund - Frequently Asked Questions" document on this page or speak to your childcare provider.

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

Please click here to download our Privacy Notice for the Family Portal.

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Family Portal User Guide

Guide to help parents use the Family Portal to apply for Early Education places for two year olds.

Gov.uk childcare portal guide

A guide for parents on using the gov.uk childcare portal to register for 30 hours childcare

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents - 30 Hours Childcare

Frequently Asked Questions for parents regarding the 30 Hours Childcare scheme.

30 hours free childcare for Children in Foster Care - Application Process

30 hours free childcare for Children in Foster Care - Application Process

30 hours free childcare for Children in Foster care application form

30 hours free childcare for Children in Foster care application form

Disability Access Fund - Frequently Asked Questions

Information for parents regarding Disability Access Funding.

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