30 hours funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

Some children are eligible for an additional 15 hours of early education funding meaning that they can access up to 30 hours per week in total. After making an online application on the national .gov website eligible parent(s) will receive a code confirming eligibility to take to their preferred provider.

You can apply for the additional hours funding via the Childcare Choices website. You can also apply for Tax Free Childcare via the same website.

Apply online for additional funding

When to apply

When you are applying additional extended entitlement you need to make your application in time in order to get your eligibility code before the following dates. If you apply after these dates you will have to wait until the following term to take up the additional funded hours;

  • 31 August - funding starting in the Autumn term (from September)
  • 31 December - funding starting in the Spring term (from January)
  • 31 March - funding starting in the Summer term (from April)

Please be aware it can take up to 15 days from date of application for HMRC to issue a code. If you already have a 30 hour code please remember to re-confirm your details when prompted by HMRC in order to continue to receive funding.

If you are issued a temporary code by HMRC these are only valid for 1 term so you must ensure you have a new code from HMRC for the following term.

If you are eligible for the 30 hours per week funding you will be given a code which you need to take to your chosen childcare provider or School. You will be asked by HMRC to re-check your eligibility every 3 months so please follow any prompts you receive and instructions so that the funding can continue.

If you have any difficulty applying for the 30 hours extended entitlement please call the HMRC helpline on 0300 123 4097.


Eligibility for the additional extended entitlement will include households where:

  • all parents (whether two-parent family or lone parent) are working and earning a minimum of the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the National Minimum or Living Wage (includes income received from tax credits or Universal Credit) and one parent’s income does not exceed £100,000
  • one or both parents are on paid leave (parental, maternal etc.)
  • one or both parents are on statutory sick pay
  • parents on zero hours contracts and those who are registered as self-employed
  • one parent is employed and the other parent has either:
    • substantial caring responsibilities and or a disability
    • is a foster carer with their own 3 and 4 year old children

You need to set a pattern of attendance for your funded hours for the term during headcount week which is usually the 3rd week of the funding term. Once this pattern is set you cannot increase your hours until the next term.

If you wish to move some or all of your funded hours to another childcare provider during the term, that is fine, as long as you give the relevant amount of notice to the original nursery and do not increase the total number of funded hours you are taking up.

For example: You cannot start the term with a pattern of 15hrs and then start another nursery mid-term to take up additional hours as this would be classed as increasing, but you can take up 15 hours at one provider and then move 5 of these hours to another provider during the term i.e. you continue to have 15 funded hours but move some of them to another provider.

If you no longer meet the criteria for the extended funded hours following a re-check you will be permitted a ‘grace period’ whereby your child will still have access to 30 hours entitlement for a set number of weeks after your check.

You will be told how long the grace period is when you have been re-checked. If the grace period has lapsed and you still no longer meet the criteria you will revert back to the standard 15 hours entitlement.

Some school nurseries are able to offer the additional extended entitlement (30hrs). The process for applying for a school nursery place has changed. Parents will now need to contact their chosen school directly to apply for a school nursery place. There should be information on each school website on how and when to apply as well as their admissions criteria and admissions policy. The school will be able to tell you what they can offer.

If you are not sure which schools are local to you please visit our schoolfinder page where you can search for schools closest to your postcode area including your catchment school.

If you are struggling to find a school nursery who can offer the care you require, the Family Information Service can support you to find an alternative private provider.

Search for 30 hours providers

If you are eligible you can find out about the local authority register of providers at Solihull Family Information Service (FIS).

Alternatively contact the Family Information Service on 0800 389 8667 or email familyinfo@solihull.gov.uk.

The 30 hours extended entitlement can be taken over 38 to 52 weeks in the year. Providers will each offer something slightly different.

The extended entitlement can be taken between 6am and 8pm for up to 10 hours a day. In one day the extended hours are limited to 2 sites and 3 providers. It will not cover the cost of consumables (drinks, meals, nappies, sun cream etc). Solihull FIS will support you to find a setting to meet your needs.

Visiting the following websites may also be useful to find provision outside of Solihull:

For further information please see our additional Frequently Asked Questions.