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Council urges parents to apply now for funded free childcare

Coun Boyd Elliott, vice-chairman of the children and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council
Coun Boyd Elliott, vice-chairman of the children and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council

Parents and carers of three and four year olds are being invited to find out if they are eligible for more funded free childcare for the coming autumn term, writes Boyd Elliott, vice-chairman of the children and young peoples committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.

All working parents with children aged three and four are now entitled to 30 hours a week, 1,140 hours a year.

By helping with childcare costs, parents are now able to consider returning to work and/or increase the hours they currently work.

It is coming up to the time of year that parents need to apply for September and the funding does help to reduce the financial burden of childcare.

Nottinghamshire also has an excellent provision of Ofsted-registered childcare providers providing a lot of choice and quality childcare.

The Government states that people must earn at least £120 a week and that each parent must not earn £100,000 or more a year.

People could still be eligible if they or their partner is on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, are unable to work if they have a disability or caring responsibilities or a single parent.

Parents of children born before September 1, 2015 can apply anytime up to the August 31 cut-off date.

However, they should apply by the end of July to be sure of receiving a code in time to start the autumn term.

For more information and to find out your eligibility visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

Successful applicants will receive a code which they then take to their chosen childcare provider as soon as possible.

For a list of the early years settings included in the Nottinghamshire Directory of Providers, visit www.nottshelpyourself.org.uk

There were 15,039 applications for the extra childcare provision last academic year, with 3,634 coming in the autumn term.

Those applying late last year were unable to take up their extended hours until the following term – so please don’t delay.