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Extended 30-hour entitlement

Extended entitlement for working parents

To make childcare more affordable for working parents, the government has increased free early education entitlement for three and four-year-olds. Parents can now claim from 15 up to 30 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, if they are eligible.

This extended entitlement is equivalent to an additional 570 hours of childcare over the year.

To give parents and carers choice and flexibility, providers should offer the entitlement within the following parameters:

  • No session to be longer than 10 hours
  • No minimum session length
  • No session before 6am or after 8pm
  • A maximum of two childcare providers in a single day.

Apply for 30 hours' funded childcare for foster children

Already receiving your 30 hours' early education?

If you want this to continue, you must re-confirm your details and eligibility every three months. See the 'Re-confirm eligibility' section below for more details.

Am I eligible?

Access to the extended 30-hour entitlement will depend on your individual family circumstances.

Find out if you meet the eligibility criteria.

How do I apply?

  1. If you think you are eligible, start by visiting the government's Childcare Choices website to get your eligibility code.
  2. Once you have this, you can create an account with St Helens Borough Council and express an interest with them via your account or you can simply take it to your chosen childcare provider yourself.
  3. Complete your details in full and make sure you click save at the bottom. This will return you to the homepage and you will be asked to verify your email at the email address you've just used on the form. The email will be from System Support Service Desk at St Helens Borough Council.
  4. Once you have clicked on the link in the email to verify, you can return to the homepage and log in using the email/username and password you created.
  5. You will then be asked to Create a Child by clicking on the blue 'New Child' box.
  6. You will then need to add your National Insurance number and tick the child(ren) you are applying for the 30 hours for, and click 'Enter Eligibility Code(s)'.
  7. Enter the code and click 'Validate Codes'. If you are eligible, you will get immediate confirmation on screen.
  8. You have then completed all checks and can click 'OK' and head straight to the childcare search page and find what you need.
  9. Once you have the one you'd like, complete the 'Register Interest' step-by-step form and this will go to the provider.
  10. You can register interest with as many as you like.
  11. You will be informed by your online council account once a place is confirmed for you.

More information

If you would like any further help, please do not hesitate to contact our funded early education entitlement team on 01744 676542 / 6557 or email

Re-confirm eligibility

If you have applied for or claimed up to 30 hours of funded childcare and/or tax-free childcare, you must reconfirm your eligibility every three months. You must do this even if your child hasn't started using their 30-hour place yet. 

How do I do it?

  • You must do this three months from the date you applied to receive the 30 hours and then again every three months.
  • You will get a text and/or email four weeks before your re-confirmation deadline, which will remind you to log into your Childcare Service account.
  • In the account, head to 'secure messages', which you can access at any time, and in the section on re-confirmation your re-confirmation date will be stated.
  • You can re-confirm your eligibility up to four weeks before your actual date.

Your first reminder email, four weeks before you need to re-confirm, will look something like this...

You will also get a second reminder two weeks before you need to reconfirm, if you haven't done it already.

How do I access my account?

Simply head back to the Childcare Service and log in.

What if I miss the re-confirmation deadline?

If you miss the deadline, or if your circumstances change, you will get a message to say your eligibility has ended. In order to receive the 30 hours again, you will have to to re-apply.

When your original code expires, you will fall into a grace period, which means that you will be able to keep your child's place for a short period of time while you re-apply or try to regain employment. 

Need more help?

If you have any queries, you can contact our funded early education entitlement team

Telephone:  01744 676542 or 01744 676557.


Please Note: The telephone numbers stated only deal with funded childcare enquiries - for general enquiries please telephone our Contact Centre on 01744 676789

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