Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is free early education for three and four-year olds?

All three and four-year-old children are entitled to 15 hours of free early education prior to starting school. Early years research shows that good quality early education benefits children in the long term, particularly the most disadvantaged. It has also shown that high quality, pre-school and nursery provision enhances children's all round cognitive, language and social development

When is my child eligible for universal early years education funding?

The funding will start the 1 January, 1 April or 1 September, whichever comes first following your child's third birthday and running up to and including the term in which they turn five or start at a state-maintained primary school.

Will I have to pay any additional fees for extra services or snacks?

At the current time Kerswell Kids Preschool runs as a not-for-profit organisation, there are no hidden charges or top up fees, however children who attend for both the morning and afternoon sessions will be charged £1.50 for lunch, children eligible for EYPP (see below) will not be charged.

What is 30 hours free childcare?

The Government increased free childcare to 30 hours a week for eligible working parents - 15 hours of Universal Early Education Funding plus an additional 15 hours entitlement. 30 hours free childcare can be taken up to 38 weeks a year, but it is possible to stretch your entitlement by taking fewer hours over more weeks of the year depending on the setting (Kerswell Kids Preschool is only open for 38 weeks of the year). Parents eligible for the additional 15hr entitlement will also be able to apply for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme (see below).

Who is eligible for the additional 15hrs?

Children must be 3 or 4 by 31 August in order to be eligible to start on 1 September. To be eligible, you (and your partner if you have one), must either:

  • each expect to earn at least £115 a week or work* more than 16 hours at the National Living Wage,•
  • or each expect to earn at least £111 a week or work more than 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage. This means you don't have to actually work 16 hours a week but earn at least the equivalent of these wage rates.​
  • each expect to earn at least £61.​92 a week if you're under 18, £84.80 a week if you're aged 18 to 20 or £52.80 a week if you're an apprentice (either under 19 or in the first year of your apprenticeship)
*Work includes employed and self-employed persons.

Circumstances where you may still be eligible

You can still apply for 30 hours free childcare if you or your partner are:

  • taking paid time off work, such as maternity leave, paternity leave or sick leave
  • temporarily away from England for a period of up to 6 months, such as if you're in the military (on duty)
  • already getting Universal Credit or tax credits

You can also still apply for 30 hours free childcare if either you or your partner are employed or self-employed and one of you gets one or more of the following benefits:

  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit or long-term Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work you've been assessed as having limited capability for work for Universal Credit purpose 

My Child is Two are they Eligible for Free Childcare?

Some 2 year olds are also eligible for 15 hours of free childcare, to be eligible you must be receiving one of the following:

  • Income support
  • Has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • Receives Disability Living Allowance
  • Has left care through special guardianship, an adoption or residence order
  • Your child will also need to be registered with your local Children's Centre.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs
  • Working Tax Credit and earning less than £16,190 a year
  • Universal Credit

Further eligibility conditions for you and your partner (if you have one)

must live in England

  • expect to have an income of less than £100,000 each a year
  • if unemployed, you and your partner must become employed within 14 days of applying
  • if your child is in reception at school, you can't get free childcare. Once your child is of compulsory school age, they're no longer eligible
  • If you don't have a partner, then all the conditions above just apply to you.

How can I use my funded hours at Kerswell Kids Preschool?

You can use your 15 or 30 hours flexibly for example:

  • All morning sessions 9:00am to 12:00pm = 3 hrs x 5 sessions = 15hrs
  • Three morning sessions 9:00am to 12:00pm + two afternoons 12:00pm to 3:00pm = 3 hrs x 5 sessions = 15hrs
  • All morning sessions 9:00am to 12:00pm + all afternoon sessions 12:00pm to 3:00pm = 3hrs x 10 sessions = 30hrs

Please note funded hours cannot be used against our breakfast club sessions.

How do I Apply for my Free Childcare?

Kerswell Kids will give parents a parent declaration form to claim the universal 15hrs early education funding and/or the extended entitlement. Working parents you are eligible for tax free childcare (see below) and 15 hours free additional childcare, to find out if you are eligible for either scheme go to the Government website www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

What is Tax-Free Childcare?

For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their childcare costs, or £4,000 for disabled children, separate from funded entitlements. The offer will be available for children up to the age of 12, or 17 for children who are disabled. To qualify both parents will have to be in work, and each expecting to earn at least £115 a week and not more than £100,000 each year.


Parents will be able to open an online childcare account, which they will use to pay for their childcare directly.

Parents will be able to apply for all their children at the same time, when their youngest child becomes eligible. All eligible parents will be able to join Tax-Free Childcare by the end of 2017. Tax-Free Childcare can be used to pay for:

  • pre-schools and day nurseries
  • registered childminders
  • school based care (that is paid for, such as after-school clubs)

Parents can't claim Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming tax credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers. Childcare providers can receive payments from both Tax-Free Childcare and childcare vouchers.

Is there any other childcare funding?

The government provides a childcare calculator www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator for you to get an estimate of how much funding you could get to help pay for approved childcare. As well as Tax-Free childcare it also calculates if you might be eligible for up to 15 and 30 hours free childcare, Tax Credits, Universal Credits, Childcare Vouchers or help whilst you study. Tax-Free Childcare will eventually replace Childcare Vouchers. The government provide a better off calculator www.gov.uk/childcare-vouchers-better-off-calculator so you can work out if you're better off with Childcare Vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare (you can't claim both).

What is Early Years Pupil Premium?

The Early Years Pupil Premium provides an additional payment per term for three and four-year-old children whose parents are in receipt of certain benefits or who were formerly in local authority care but who left care because they were adopted or were subject to a special guardianship or child arrangements order. At Kerswell Kids Preschool we can use the extra funding in any way we choose to improve the quality of the early years education that we provide for your child. This could include, for example, additional training for our staff on early language, investing in partnership working with our colleagues in the area to further our expertise or supporting our staff in working on specialised areas such as speech and language.

What happens when my child starts school?

Children can start school the September after their fourth birthday, however parents do have the option to delay their start date until the term of their child's fifth birthday. If a child starts school in the September after their fourth birthday (as most children do), the funding is transferred to the school. You do not need to apply for the funding, this transfer happens automatically. If you choose to delay your child's start date until the term of their fifth birthday the funding can continue at the early years setting they are already attending.

What happens if my child is not eligible for funding or I want my child to attend over their funded sessions?

Sessions can be paid for, the current sessional rate is £18.00, we do require children to attend for a minimum of two sessions per week, paid for sessions are invoiced monthly in advance.