Working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds can claim 30 hours of free childcare each week under a revamped government initiative.
The scheme doubles the previous entitlement of 15 hours’ free childcare and is funded for 38 weeks, to coincide with term time.
As a result, an estimated 390,000 eligible working families can save an average of £5,000 per year on childcare costs.
To qualify for the scheme, eligible parents must:
- earn a minimum of the equivalent of 16 hours per week at national living or minimum wage
- earn less than £100,000 a year.
A survey of parents and providers in 8 councils, where the scheme was trialled last year, found:
- 84% saw their finances improve
- 78% reported a greater work/life balance
- 23% of mothers and 9% of fathers were able to increase their working hours.
In addition, a second independent evaluation of the pilot scheme found:
- parents were planning to increase their working hours from September
- the scheme made it worthwhile for more parents to work full-time
- 83% of free entitlement providers and 62% of all registered providers were able to offer the extended 30 hours’ childcare.
Justine Greening, education secretary, said:
“High quality childcare not only helps our children get the best start in life, it supports many parents who want or need to work.
“For too long lots of families really struggled to manage the cost of childcare and that’s why we have delivered on our promise to provide 30 hours free – saving working families around £5,000 a year.”
For any help or advice with financial planning talk to RPD