Where you can claim your 30 hours' free childcare
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Where you can claim your 30 hours' free childcare

Approved childcare providers in Lewisham have the option to offer the 30 free hours. This includes childminders, nursery schools, day nurseries and pre-schools.

Childcare providers who choose not to provide the 30 free hours might still offer the universal 15 free hours for three-and four-year-olds.

You can use up to three childcare providers but you cannot claim more than 30 hours per week in total.

You cannot use more than two childcare providers on one day to claim the 30 free hours.

If your current childcare provider won’t be offering the 30 free hours

You could:

  • move your child to another childcare provider who will offer the 30 free hours
  • stay with your existing provider if they will offer the universal 15 free hours and use another childcare provider for the additional 15 hours a week.

Do you have to use all 30 free hours each week?

You can use anything from 16–30 hours. However, not all childcare providers will necessarily be able to offer the exact amount of free hours that you need.

Providers can claim the 30 free hours’ entitlement using the following criteria:

  • 10 hours maximum per day
  • no minimum per day
  • hours between 6am–8pm.

If your childcare provider cannot offer the exact amount of free hours that you require, you could split your 30 free hours across more than one childcare provider.

Can you claim your free hours all year round?

  • The 30 free hours a week is based on a childcare provider only being open for 38 weeks during the year (term-time only).
  • However, if a childcare provider is open for more than 38 weeks a year, then they can offer the same total of hours (1,140 per year) over more than 38 weeks. This is known as a stretched offer.
  • For example, if a childcare provider is open 48 weeks of the year, then they could offer 23.75 funded hours per week all year round.
  • However, not all childcare providers will necessarily be able to offer the stretched offer.
  • No childcare provider can offer more than 30 free hours per week over less than 38 weeks.
  • If your child attends a childcare provider for more than the free hours available in a claim period, you will be responsible for these fees. You should also check whether there are any other charges such as for meals and snacks.