More parents with lower incomes could be entitled to free childcare for children aged two and over
From today, 260,000 two year old are eligible for 14 hours of free childcare a week – double the number last year.
The aim of the scheme is to help children from less advantaged families to get access to early education so that when they starts school they’re at the same level as children from more affluent families.
‘Giving a helping hand to families that need it most will mean thousands more children get a brighter start in life'
‘Giving a helping hand to families that need it most will mean thousands more children get a brighter start in life,’ says Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. ‘All the evidence shows that if you compare two five-year-olds hanging up their coats next to each other on the first day of school, the poorer child will already be behind their better off classmate before a single lesson has been taught.’
Up until now, free childcare was only offered to 130,000 children – but now it’s doubled so it will be available to around 40 per cent of the UK’s most disadvantaged toddlers.
‘The extension of free childcare to two-year-olds builds on the entitlement of 15 free hours a week already available to all three- and four-year-olds,’ says childcare and education minister Sam Gyimah.
‘In addition, the government meets up to 70% of childcare costs for low- and middle-income families through tax credits and are also introducing tax-free childcare from autumn 2015 which will see all eligible families receive up to £1,200 towards each child’s childcare costs.’
To be eligible for free childcare, you need to have an annual income of less than £16,190 and meet the below requirements:
• You must be getting income support • Be on Jobseekers Allowance • Receive income-related Employment and Support Allowance • Receive support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act • You must get the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit • Receive child Tax Credit • Receive Working Tax Credits
Other reasons that your child could be entitled to free childcare include if he’s looked after by a local council, has a current statement of special education needs or an education health and care plan, gets Disability Living Allowance or they’re under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order.
To check to see if you qualify, contact your local authority or children’s centre.