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Childcare Choices

Don't miss out on free childcare

The Government is introducing new ways to help parents and carers with childcare costs. One of the ways is by introducing free 30 hours of childcare to eligible families.

Plymouth City Council has a duty to ensure there are enough affordable, quality childcare places across the city to support this initiative and in response we are asking for your views. 

We have developed a quick online survey and we would be very grateful if you could complete it. We will use this information to improve childcare services for you and your family.

Complete the childcare survey

3 and 4 year old funding

All children aged 3 and 4 years old are eligible for free early education for up to 15 hours a week. The Government is increasing this to 30 hours a week for working parents earning the equivalent of the National Minimum wage for 16 hours per week from September 2017.

You can also sign up to receive emails about new childcare schemes in 2017

Working parents in receipt of Universal Credit may be entitled to receive the childcare costs element of Universal Credit.  This means that they can be reimbursed up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs for childcare which enables them to take up paid work.  Parents can see what help they can get with the cost of childcare via the Childcare Choices website

This childcare costs element can be claimed by parents in addition to the DfE's free childcare element. 

The government is introducing a Tax Free Childcare scheme. 


Gov.UK - help paying for childcare

Gov.UK - tax free childcare: 10 things parents should know

Find out about help you could get with your childcare costs via the Government online calculator

Two year old funding

Some 2-year olds are also entitled to Me2 funding. To claim free early education for two year olds your income must not exceed £16,190.

Children who receive Disability Living Allowance or who have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption are also entitled to two year old funding. 

Children can only receive a free early education place from the start of the funding period after their second birthday. The funding periods start on 1 January, 1 April and 1 September each year.

Good quality childcare

Research has shown that good quality childcare can:

  • improve children's development - for example their communication skills
  • help them learn to socialise with other children and make friends
  • give them access to new activities and exciting places to play
  • help them begin to get ready for school

Childcare is also good for families. It can give you a bit more time to spend with your younger children, take up a college course, or go back to work. It will also give you new ideas of activities to do with your child at home and how you can help them grow and learn.

Different types of childcare

  • Childminders usually look after children in the Childminder's own home.  Most will work early mornings, evenings and weekends and in the holidays. 
  • Pre-schools offer sessions of between 2.5 and 4 hours in term time.  Many offer 15 hours a week free early learning for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Nurseries offer full daycare usually from 8am to 6pm.
  • School nursery classes open during school hours, offering full or half-day sessions.
  • Out of school care offer before and after school sessions and holiday care.

Check quality

Ofsted registered childcare providers are inspected.

Thinking ahead

Many parents are able to find suitable childcare as soon as they need it, but for others it may take several months of searching before you can find somewhere that accommodates both your own and your child's needs.

Think about what you want and need from childcare and what kind of childcare would best suit your needs. For example, do you need childcare in the evening, early morning or at the weekend? Will you need additional childcare for school age children during school holidays? 

Thinking of becoming a Childminder?

If you would enjoy giving children the best start in life, being your own boss and working from home then becoming an Ofsted registered childminder could be the ideal career for you. This career can fit around your own family so you can care for your own children at the same time. For further details about becoming a Childminder please contact the Early Years Team on 01752 307450


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