This help centre article has been written for Koru Kids' Home Nursery service


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What are Funded Hours?

There are three different types of Funded Hours. You can easily check which program you are eligible for on the Childcare Choices website.

Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds (or 2YO).

When a child turns 2 they may be eligible for 15 hours a week (for 38 weeks a year) of free childcare if their parents already receive some kind of government financial support, such as Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). More details regarding whether you could be eligible can be found on the government website.

15 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds (or Universal Entitlement).

All 3 and 4-year-old children are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week regardless of parental income or working status. This is based on providers offering the hours over 38 weeks a year, but you can choose to ‘stretch’ the hours over a large number of weeks too. It is an entitlement of 570 hours a year in total. More information can be found on the government website.

30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds (or Extended Entitlement).

Some 3 and 4-year-old children are entitled to 15 further hours, totalling 30 hours of free childcare a week. It is an entitlement of 1,140 hours a year in total.

Their parents they live with must both earn at least the minimum wage for 16 hours a week, and neither parent can earn over £100,000 per year.

More information can be found on the government website.

What do I need to do to claim the hours?

When you start using a home nursery, please speak to the Koru Kids team if you'd like to take advantage of any of the Funded Hours programs. We’ll need as much notice as possible since the paperwork with each local authority can take some time to arrange.

Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds (or 2YO):

  • This program is handled by local authorities. You'll need to get in touch with your council or register on their online portal when your child reaches 20 months of age.

  • Your local authority will give you a code to give to your Early Educator so they can verify your eligibility.

  • Funding will start from the term after your child’s second birthday. The Funded Hours will be taken out of your Koru Kids’ invoice.

15 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds (or Universal Entitlement).

  • This program is handled by your Early Educator.

  • All you need to do is complete the Parent Declaration Form given to you by your Early Educator.

  • Funding will start from the term after your child has turned 3. The Funded Hours will be deducted from your Koru Kids’ monthly invoice.

30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds (or Extended Entitlement).

  • You need to apply on the government website in the term before your child turns 3. If you're eligible, you'll receive an 11-digit code to give to your Early Educator.

  • You need to complete and return the ‘Parent Declaration Form’ form that your Early Educator will give to you (you will need to show your national insurance number and a copy of your child’s passport or birth certificate).

  • Every three months, you will be prompted to review and confirm if your situation has/hasn’t changed.

  • The funded hours will be deducted from your Koru Kids’ monthly invoice.

  • For the 2YO and Extended Entitlement programs, you’ll need to meet certain earnings criteria. You’ll need an eligibility code from HMRC to prove this. You can apply for this here.

  • You’ll also need to fill in and sign a Parent Declaration Form (that your early educator will give you) and show your Early Educator your National Insurance number and a copy of your child’s passport or birth certificate.

Stretching your Funded Hours

  • The government only offers the 15/30 Funded Hours over a total of 38 weeks per year (term time). This is a total of 570 hours a year for the 15-hour allowance and 1140 for the 30-hour allowance.

  • Most of our Early Educators operate all year round and ‘stretch’ the Funded Hours across 48 weeks of the year. This means that each week there are not 15 or 30 Funded Hours available, but it does balance out across the whole of the year.

  • This suggestion to stretch the hours over 48 weeks (as opposed to 52 weeks) is to allow for the fact that your Early Educator has 20 days of paid holidays (including bank holidays).

Can I split my hours between settings?

Yes. For example, if your child attends another nursery for part of the week, you can split the entitlement. You’ll have to decide on this split when you complete the Parent Declaration Form.

Consumables Charge

If you take advantage of Funded Hours, we’ll ask you to pay a small Consumables Charge to cover the cost of food, toiletries, arts and crafts activities, etc. that isn’t covered by the money your Early Educator receives from the local authority.

This charge varies according to the hourly rate that your local authority pays to your Early Educator. The Koru Kids team can advise you what this will be.


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