Childcare Funding and Support

Free early education

All three and four year olds attending a nursery setting or childminder registered within the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead can claim Early Education Funding and are entitled to up to 15 hours of free childcare per week (subject to a maximum of 570 hours per year). This starts in the term after a child's 3rd birthday up to and including the term in which the child turns 5. The free hours can be accessed in blocks of 2.5 - 10 hours per day, between 7am and 7pm. The nursery decide when and how they offer the free hours, eg some offer three hours per day, five days a week, or five hours per day, three days a week or other flexible patterns. If your child attends the setting for more hours than the free entitlement, the additional charges that the provider makes are at the discretion of the provider and should be clear and transparent to parents.

Most nurseries and a few childminders in the borough offer the free entitlement. To take up your free entitlement you just need to talk to your childcare provider and they will ask you to complete a Parent Declaration Form.  The information you provide will be used in accordance with the attached Privacy Notice.

Further information on the free early education is available in our guide, or you can contact the Early Years Team [email protected]. You can also find out further information about the support available to families with children under 5 on the Families in the Foundation Years website.

Some two year olds living in the borough may be eligible for up to 15 hours per week funding. More information on this is available on the 2 year old funding webpage. If you would like to know more about the free entitlement for two year olds, or would like to apply for your child, please call 01628 685959 or email [email protected].

Should you have any reason to complain about your child's free nursery care, please follow see our complaints procedure.

30 hours of free childcare

With effect from September 2017 some children three and four year old children of working parents will qualify for up to 30 hours of free childcare.  For details please see attached guide.

Parents will need to apply (via a new HMRC digital childcare service) to be approved for the 30 hours. Click on the following link to apply/register.

If you need help please talk to the Childcare Service helpline on 0300 123 4097.

If you need help accessing the childcare service after you have applied see the attached guide.

This is a list of Royal Borough providers who have indicated that they will be offering some or all of the 30 hours from September 2017.

30 hours of free childcare for Foster Parents

From September 2018 Foster Parents who work outside of their roles as Foster Parents, and foster three and four year children, may qualify for the 30 hours of free childcare.

Please talk to your social worker before you apply - they will need to support your application.

To apply please complete one of the attached application forms. 

Tax-free childcare

Tax-free childcare is a new UK-wide scheme to help working parents pay for childcare.

For every £8 a parent pays, the government will pay an extra £2 towards their childcare costs - up to £2,000 per child, per year (or £4,000 for children who are disabled). Tax-free childcare will be available for children up to the age of 12 (or 17 for disabled children).

It was launched in early 2017 and gradually rolled out on an age-based approach, starting with parents of the youngest children. By the end of 2017 tax-free childcare will be open to all eligible parents.

Click here to apply/register for Tax-Free Childcare for your family.

10 things parents should know about Tax-Free Childcare

Childcare Choices is a new website from the Government which brings together all the government childcare offers for the first time, helping parents find the right childcare support to suit them.

It includes information on tax-free childcare and 30 hours free childcare.

Important - once you have registered/been approved you need to renew your tax-free childcare and 30 hours code every 3 months. This guide explains how you do this.

Childcare Choices website gives information on the new and existing Government childcare offers.


The Early Years Pupil Premium

Nurseries, schools, childminders and other childcare providers are able to claim extra funding through the early years pupil premium to support children's development, learning and care.

The early years pupil premium provides an extra 53 pence per hour for three and four year old children whose parents are in receipt of certain benefits or who have been in care or adopted from care. 

Childcare providers can use the extra funding to improve the quality of the early years education they provide. This could include for example additional training for staff on early language, investing in partnership working with colleagues in the area to further expertise or supporting staff in working on specialised areas such as speech and language.

Further information is available in this guide.

Disability Access Fund (DAF) - Provision for disabled children

The disability access fund is a new measure which aids access to early years places for disabled children by, for example, supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings and /or helping with building capacity (be that for the child in question or for the benefit of children as a whole attending the provider).

Three and four year olds will be eligible for DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child disability living allowance and ;
  • the child received free early education

Please note that four year olds in primary school reception classes are not eligible for the DAF funding.

The providers of three and four year olds eligible for the DAF will be entitled to receive a one off payment  of £615 per year. the DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement. Children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of early education when they are entitled in order to receive the DAF. Children in receipt of the DAF will be eligible where they take up any period of free entitlement. The DAF is a one off payment. If the child changes childcare provider within the financial year, the new provider will not receive any other payment of the DAF. The new provider will need to wait until the following financial year.

Providers will be able to use the parent declaration for for parents to tick if their child is in receipt of disability living allowance. Parents should give their provider a copy of their DLA award letter.