30 hours – what’s the score??

So, your child has just turned 3 and you’re wondering about the 30 hours you’ve heard about, so what’s the score?


So the Government’s flagship scheme is an extension of the long-standing 15 hours scheme that has been offered for many years. All 3 and 4 year olds are eligible for the 15 hours per week for 38 weeks a year and all Nurseries offer this to parents. With the introduction of the extended 15 hours from 2017, the Government introduced a means based scheme with the aim of offering more care for more families and this could equate to up to 1140 hours of care for your child just waiting to be accessed.

If you tick the 2 criteria below, you’re good to go:

  • For all parents that are employed in work – or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave
  • each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week – this is £125.28 if you’re over 25

However, should either you or your partner earn over £100,000 per annum, you are not eligible for the extended hours.


The Government was very keen to label the scheme as ‘FREE’ and this indeed has caused massive uproar in the Childcare sector as it is grossly underfunded. However, for the Nurseries that offer the extended hours (it’s optional), the care that they offer to children and families is entirely ‘FREE’, but other elements of the offer are not so, for example, where funding is applied the sessional food costs are extra and potentially some other expenses […]