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30 Hours Free Childcare – 3 & 4 year old Extended Entitlement

All 3 & 4 year old children are currently entitled to 15 hours of free childcare & early learning.

From September 2017, children of some working parents will be entitled to an additional 570 hours per year, meaning that many families will be able to claim 1140 hours of free childcare if they meet certain criteria. 

If eligible for the 30 hours childcare,  also known as the ‘Extended Entitlement’, the 1140 hours of free childcare can be taken across the year, either in term times only or ‘stretched’ across the year for example.

  • Up to 30 hours per week across 38 weeks per year (term time offer)
  • Up to 22 hours per week across 51 weeks of the year (‘stretched offer’). The remaining 18 hours to be used over the year as required.

Flexibility options will need to be discussed with your chosen early year’s provider as the range of offers will vary across Poole. 

Where can you get more information?

Please use the Family Information Directory, where you will find all Poole early years providers listed to enable you to search and return easily, or contact the FIS Childcare Brokers for assistance on telephone: 01202 261970.

We are keen to hear from you and want you to be able to take-up this opportunity.  If you are unable to contact the Childcare Brokers please use the feedback form if you have any type of query or difficulty.  

Qualifying Criteria

Age of Child

As with the existing 15 hours entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds, children become eligible for the extended entitlement at the start of the school term after their 3rd birthday.

Children born in the period

Eligible for free funded hours

School Term

1 January – 31 March

1 April


1 April - 31 August

1 September


1 September – 31 December

1 January


Definition of working parents

Both parents must be in work, as defined below, and for single parent families, the sole parent must be in work.

For the purpose of the scheme (Extended Entitlement) ‘in work’ is means being in employment (including self-employment) and earning more than the equivalent of the national minimum wage for working 16 hours per week, in other words you may not be working 16 hours to meet the criteria.

As an example, the current minimum wage is £7.50 per hour for over 25’s, so the minimum weekly income to be eligible would be £7.50 x 16 = £120.00

Each parent must also earn less than £100,000 a year.

One parent must be ‘in work’ if the other receives disability benefit or benefits related to caring responsibilities.

Was this information helpful to you?

Frequently asked questions: 

Q       Can I check my eligibility online?

:     You can check your eligibility on-line at If eligible you will receive a unique code, which you share with your chosen provider(s).  For a place in the school Autumn term (ie September) you need to obtain this code prior to 31st August 2017.  Codes obtained after that date will secure places in Spring Term, ie. from January 2018.


Q:      Do I apply once, or do I have to apply every term?

A:       Because your circumstances may change, you will be asked to reapply to keep your code valid. It’s not been confirmed yet, but we anticipate you will need to reapply every three months to ensure your child remains eligible for the 30hrs.

Q:      I am separated from my child’s other parent and live with a new partner.  For the purposes of working out our eligibility for extended entitlement, who is included?

A:       To work out whether you qualify for the 30 hours free childcare, you and your partner will be assessed for eligibility.

Q:      Can I access the 30 hours free childcare for a child whom I foster?

A:       No. Foster carers may be eligible for the extended entitlement for their own children but they cannot claim the 30 hours childcare for children who they foster.

Q:      My Child goes to a day nursery that will only take children for 15 hours per week, and they also spend 10 hours per week with a childminder.  Do we have to use our free childcare with a single provider or can we split it between more than one?    

A:       As long as you don’t claim more than 30 hours per week in total, you can claim from both providers.  Each child’s funded hours can be split between up to 2 different providers. Poole Family Information Directory (FID) will be offering an additional filter so that you can easily find those providers who intend to offer the 30 hours extended entitlement.

Q:      I work full time and would like to extend my free entitlement across the year can I do this?

A:       Yes. If your provider is willing to ‘stretch’ the offer over 38 weeks up to 51 weeks, this will be indicated on the Childcare provider’s record within the FID easily filtering those who do.  Your provider may currently be offering ‘stretch’ for the 15 hours free entitlement, please ask them.

Q.      What do I do if my provider cannot offer 30 hours as they do not have places?

A:       The Government will allow you to use up to 2 childcare providers.  You may find that your provider is going to be working in partnership with another to enable you to use the full 30 hours.

Q.      How many hours can I take for my child in any one day?

A:       You will need to discuss this with your chosen provider to jointly agree the most appropriate length of time in consideration of your child’s well-being.  The Government’s set maximum session length of 10 hours is unchanged.

Q:      My child has Special Education Needs or Disability (SEND) how will they be supported?

A.         Each provider, under the SEN Code of Practice must publicise the support they offer. Poole settings complete the same form so that parents can compare across provision to guide their choice and understanding.  On receipt, the provider form is uploaded to the provider’s record within the Poole Family Information Directory, as a pdf. Additional information is available to parents in the Local Offer.

Q:      My partner and I are both employed but I’m on statutory sick pay at the moment.  Will families with a parent who is on statutory sick pay be eligible for the extended entitlement in the future?

A:       Yes.  Parents who are on temporary leave from work such as maternity leave or statutory sick pay, are still considered to be in work.

Q:      Once we’re getting 30 hours free childcare, what happens if I lose my job?

A:       If either or both of the child’s parents stop work at any point, after a short ‘Grace period’ to support you to find a new job, the child will stop being eligible for the additional 15 hours free childcare.  This also applies to other changes to circumstances which affect eligibility.

Q:      What is meant by the ‘Grace Period’?

A:       A period of time the Government allow for families whose circumstances change, so that they can retain their childcare place if the parents become ineligible for the extended entitlement.  A national ‘Grace Period’ is still being determined.

Was this information helpful to you?  

If parents’ eligibility status changes in the period;

The child will continue to be funded until;

First half of Autumn Term

End of the Autumn Term

Second half of the Autumn Term

End of first half of Spring Term

First half of the Spring Term

End of the Spring Term

Second half of Spring Term

End of first half of Summer Term

First half of Summer Term

End of the Summer Term

Second half of Summer Term

Start of the Autumn Term




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