Help with childcare costs

Funded Early Years education is available to some two year olds and all three and four year olds in the following settings:

  • school nursery classes
  • state or private nursery schools
  • day nurseries or pre-schools
  • approved childminders.

Childcare costs support options

The following list provides information on the range of support that may be available to you:

  • Childcare Choices can help you check what support you may get whether you have toddlers or teens.
  • You can receive Child Benefit if you are responsible for a child under 16 or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.
  • You can get Child Tax Credit (moving to Universal Credit) if you are responsible for a child under 16 or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training. The amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances. Child Tax Credit will not affect your Child Benefit.
  • You can get Working Tax Credit (moving to Universal Credit) if your household is on a low income. It is made up of a number of elements depending on your circumstances. For example, extra amounts are available to those who work at least 30 hours a week and to those who are working and have a disability. It also includes an element to help with the costs of Ofsted registered or approved childcare, known as the childcare element.
  • Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you are on a low income or out of work. Whether you can claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your circumstances. You can get help with your childcare costs for two children.
  • Tax-Free Childcare is a savings account scheme that offers working families government support towards qualifying (approved) childcare costs.
Employees should seek advice from their employer about:
  • Childcare voucher schemes (now closed for new applicants)
  • Employer subsidised childcare
  • National Health Service employees childcare allowance.

Students should talk to their college, sixth form or university about the funding that is available:

  • Care to Learn
  • Discretionary Learner Support
  • 16 - 19 Bursary Fund
  • Advanced Learner Loan
  • Higher Education Childcare Grant
  • Parents' Learning Allowance
  • National Insurance Credits for adults who care for a child under 12. National Insurance credits may help to fill in any gaps in your National Insurance record. This can mean that you will still get the full State Pension and other benefits.
  • The Care To Learn scheme is available to people under 20 and studying.