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Childcare: the level of funding for free provision for 3 and 4 year olds (England)

Published Tuesday, October 9, 2018

This House of Commons Library briefing paper considers the Government’s funding rate for free childcare provided to eligible 3 and 4 year olds in England. A link to the full report in pdf format can be found at the bottom of this page.

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In addition to the 15 hours of free childcare available over 38 weeks of the year to all parents of 3 and 4 year olds, from September 2017 an additional 15 hours (also over 38 weeks) - known as the extended entitlement - was introduced across England for qualifying households subject to a means-test with a upper and lower limit (although some other parents qualified).

Following a review of childcare costs published alongside the Spending Review in November 2015, the Government set the hourly funding rate for childcare providers applicable to both the 15 and 30 hours of free childcare.

The Government has commissioned and published a one-year-on study of the impact of the extended entitlement, including how it has affected providers and parents. Research groups and representative bodies have also provided analysis of the funding rate and its impact.

It should be noted that there is a separate Library briefing paper which explains the Government’s funding formula which determines funding allocations across England, entitled New early years funding formula from 2017-18, including maintained nursery schools (England).

In addition, the Library briefing paper Childcare: "30 hours" of free childcare – eligibility, access codes and charges (England) is also of relevance.

Childcare funding is a devolved matter; this paper applies to England only.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8052

Author: Tim Jarrett

Topic: Child care

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