Help with childcare costs

30 hours free childcare

Many working parents of three and four year olds in Oldham will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare per week. The extended entitlement aims to support working parents with the cost of childcare and support parents, where they wish to return to work or to work more hours.

The entitlement totals 1,140 hours over a year. It can be used up to 30 hours a week during term time (38 weeks) or for fewer hours per week spread over more weeks of the year.

It can be taken in the same sort of settings as the existing 15 hours free entitlement for three- and four-year-olds: day nurseries, nursery classes in schools, childminders, playgroups and pre-schools.

Childcare providers must be listed in Oldham Council’s directory of approved providers. The hours can be split over more than one childcare provider.

The 30 hours free childcare does not cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), more hours or more activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these extras. If you choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider. However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 30 hour place and must be offered another options.

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is a government scheme supporting working parents with childcare costs. Parents set up a free online childcare account which they can then use to pay the childcare provider directly.

For every £8 the parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2.

The parent can get up to £2,000 per child per year, or £4,000 for disabled children.

Parents can use Tax-Free Childcare to pay for:

  • Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
  • Registered after-school clubs and play schemes
  • Home care workers working for a registered home care agency

Will I qualify?

The national criteria is set by the Government. It says:

  • both parents must be working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or living wage, and less than £100,000 per year.
  • working will include employed and self-employed persons.
  • in general families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works) will not be eligible for these additional hours.
  • both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, or paternity leave.
  • both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on adoption leave.
  • both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay.
  • one parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring or one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

Childcare at school

You may be able to get help paying for childcare that is outside school hours, for example after school clubs or breakfast clubs.

This doesn’t include:

  • your child’s compulsory education. 
  • private lessons during school time (for example, private music lessons during school hours).

If your child has not started primary school, you can get help paying for childcare provided by a school. This includes nursery school fees.

Woman and child Hola-Hooping