30 Hours Funded Childcare

We are eligible providers of the funded 30 hours childcare for 3 and 4 year old's, so why not see if you could be benefit from the extended funded hours! you can do this by applying directly through HMRC.

Eligible 3 and 4 year olds will be entitled to an additional 570 hours a year (1,140 funded hours in total).  This is commonly referred to as “30 Hours free Childcare” but in Sheffield we call it Extended FEL.  You will need to meet the criteria for your child to be eligible (see below).

Is my 3 or 4 year old eligible for the extended FEL offer (30 Hours)?

Parents or carers of 3 and 4 year old's need to meet the following criteria in order to be eligible:

  • Earn or expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours pay at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage over the next three months.

    • For 25 years old and over this is £120 a week (in 2017)

    • For parents under 25 years old this is £112.80 a week (in 2017)

  • This threshold applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on a zero hours contract.  

  • If you are about to start work and will become eligible, you can apply up to 14 days before the job starts.  

  • One or both parents can be absent from the work place due to maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or on statutory sick pay.

  • If one parent meets the income criteria above and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work.  

  • Parents who are newly self-employed and are in a “start-up period” do not need to meet the income criteria for 12 months.

  • If you are a non-EEA national you must have recourse to public funds – i.e. you must have a National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seeker Number.

  • Foster Parents are eligible for their own children, but not for children they foster.

  • Earnings of any one parent must not exceed £100,000 per year.


The eligibility criteria must be met by both parents/carers in a couple, or the lone parent in a single parent family.

HMRC will determine who is eligible.  Neither the Local Authority nor the childcare provider can influence this decision.

How do I apply for the extended FEL offer?

Applications can be made online via a smartphone, tablet or computer. You can apply via the GOV.UK website.  

You will need a Government Gateway account set up before you apply – the application will take you through this, but allow approximately 30 minutes to complete the whole process. 

The application will allow you to apply for Tax Free Childcare at the same time, which can save you 20% on your childcare costs.  If you are better off with Tax Credits, Universal Credit or a Voucher scheme then you can opt out of this part of the application.

You will need your latest pay slip, your national insurance number, your partner’s national insurance number and the date you both started your current employment.

At the end of the process, you will be set up with a government childcare account, which will show your eligibility details.

Go to the GOV.UK website: https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/

It is important that you apply as soon as you meet the criteria as a delay may mean you won’t get the extended hours until the following term.

Children can start the extended hours from the term after they turn three and approval is received from HMRC.  If you don’t apply until after the start of term, your child will only be funded for the universal element (up to 15 hours a week) until the next term.

 Date of 3rd birthday                                    Eligibility code received by no later than                    Place funded from

 Between 1 April and 31 August                                                31 August                                                         1 September

 Between 1 September and 31 December                              31 December                                                   1 January 

 Between 1 January and 31 March                                            31 March                                                          1 April

The earliest you can apply is 16 weeks before your child’s third birthday.

The latest you can apply is when your child reaches compulsory school age. 

As with the universal FEL hours, you cannot use these extended hours at the same time as a school reception class but you can defer a school reception place by one or two terms if you prefer.

If you become eligible part way through a term (for example if you start a new job) then the extended hours won’t start until the following term.  

Remember to apply during the term before your child can start their place in order to secure government funding for the additional hours.

Sign up for a reminder at Childcare Choices Website: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

What happens after being told i am eligible?

If your application is approved you will receive an eligibility code to take to your childcare provider when you book a place.  This number is valid for three months.

You will be able to find your code by going into your Childcare Service account at https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/  and clicking on 30 hours free childcare. 

GOV.UK will send you a reminder 4 weeks before the number expires asking you to confirm you’re still eligible.  It’s important you reconfirm your claim when contacted (please note some families have experienced problems with the reminder service, pre school will try to also remind you but please make a note of the renew date).  

If you don’t reconfirm eligibility before the first term of extended hours starts, you will not be able to use the extended hours. 

If you don’t confirm you’re still eligible once the extended hours have started, you will lose eligibility and go into the grace period.

What happens if I stop being eligible for the FEL offer?

If your circumstances change and you no longer meet the criteria, or if you fail to reconfirm your eligibility, GOV.UK will inform you that you are no longer eligible. 

Your child’s place will not stop immediately as it will still be funded for a grace period. 

After the grace period ends your child is still entitled to the universal FEL hours (up to 15 hours a week).

The length of the grace period varies according to when you stop being eligible.

 Date of ineligible decision on reconfirmation:                                             Grace Period end date (child funded until):

 1 January – 10 February                                                                                         31 March

 11 February – 31 March                                                                                         31 August

 1 April – 26 May                                                                                                       31 August

 27 May – 31 August                                                                                                31 December

 1 September – 21 October                                                                                    31 December

 22 October – 31 December                                                                                   31 March

The council will inform your childcare provider(s) that you are no longer eligible and the end date for the grace period.

You can also reapply during your grace period and if you are eligible the funded hours will continue.  

If you are using more than one provider to deliver the funded hours then you should use the grace period to discuss where and when you want to use the reduced hours.

The grace period will not apply if the extended hours have not started yet.

 If your code needs to be reconfirmed before the first term and you don’t confirm that you’re still eligible you will only be entitled to the universal offer, up to 15 hours a week.