Help with Childcare Costs

Get help with nursery fees

15 & 30 Hour Funding For 2, 3 & 4 Years

Two Year Early Learning Programme

Stepping Stones Day Nursery based in Nottingham City Centre has always supported the Nottingham City Council Two Year Early Learning Programme. Our funded childcare places are free, and there are no additional charges, unlike other nurseries. Check the eligibility criteria below to see if you qualify for up to £3,762 a year in free childcare sessions.

This is means-tested and generally, anyone claiming the following support will be entitled to the funding;

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit – If you and your partner are on a low income from work (this usually means an income of less than £15,400 a year after tax.
  • Tax Credits – an annual family income of under £16,190 before tax
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The Working Tax Credit 4 Week Run (this is the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit and claiming tax credits)

Even if you don’t meet any of the above points, you can still get free childcare if any of the following apply:

You can check online to see if you’re eligible. If you are, remember to bring us a copy of your eligibility letter.

Once you have been accepted for the ‘Two Year Early Learning Programme’, you’ll receive a letter confirming your eligibility, and this will also confirm a date that your child will be eligible for.

Your child will become eligible for the term after their second birthday. Once your child is eligible, we can either provide you with 15 hours a week of free childcare (38 weeks of the year), or we can spread the funding out over the year and give you a monthly deduction on your approved childcare costs.

Find out more about about our funded childcare in Nottingham and to download an application form.

Read More

Three to Four Year Nursery Education Fund - 15 & 30 hours

You may be eligible for 15 and 30 hours free childcare in Nottingham per week. Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to either £3,762 a year in free sessions (15 hours) or £6,156 a year in free sessions (30 hours). At Stepping Stones in Nottingham, our funded childcare places are free, and there are no additional charges, unlike lots of other nurseries.

15 Hour Free/Funded

Every child over three qualifies for 15 hours a week, for 38 weeks of the year, the term after their third birthday.

Once your child is eligible, we can either provide you with 15 hours a week of free sessions (38 weeks of the year), or we can spread the funding out over the year and give you a monthly deduction on your childcare costs. The usual for nurseries is 10 – 16 hours a week.

30 Hour Free/Funded

This is means-tested for parents who are currently working, and parents need to be earning over the following amounts for their age:

  • Apprentices – £62.40/week
  • Under 18 – £69.60/week
  • Aged 18-20 – £98.40/week
  • Aged 21-24 – £123.20/week
  • Aged 25 and over – £131.36/week

This is up to a maximum of £100,000 a year per parent. If you or your partner is earning more than this, unfortunately, you won’t be eligible for 30 hours free childcare in Nottingham.

You need to apply for your 30 hours free childcare in Nottingham termly and your eligibility need to be re-confirmed every term. Your child will become eligible the term after their third birthday. Once your eligibility is confirmed, you will be provided with a code which we will need when you apply for a space with us.

Once we have received your code, we can either provide 30 hours of free childcare a week (38 weeks of the year), or we can spread the funding out over the year.

You can apply for 30 hours of childcare online through the Childcare Choices website. Childcare Choices contact number is also 0300 123 4097.

Read More

Tax Credits, Universal Tax Credits & Tax Free Childcare

Working Tax Credits & Universal Credit

If you are a single parent, or you or your partner are working, you may be eligible for help with childcare costs. You can find out more below about Working Tax Credits and Universal Tax Credits. If eligible, you may be able to claim 85% of your childcare costs back.

From September 2024, all eligible working families can access 15 hours free childcare for 9 month olds. Learn more about this and apply for funded spaces in September.

Working Tax Credit

Paid upfront to approximately 75% of the childcare costs, this is usually paid weekly and upfront.

Universal Credit

You can claim up to 85% of childcare costs back, however it’s important to note that you have to pay the childcare upfront first. You’ll then need a receipt to hand in/submit to the DWP, who will then pay you back. This works very well if your childcare is the same every month. The maximum allowance is £646 a month for one child, and £1,108 for two or more children. These caps haven’t been increased in quite a long time, so hopefully will be increasing soon.

You cannot claim Universal Credit/Working Tax Credit and Tax-Free Childcare at the same time. You will undoubtedly be better off staying on the Universal Credit/Working Tax Credit system.

Read More

Tax Free Childcare

At Stepping Stones Day Nursery, we allow our parents to pay for childcare through a scheme called Tax Free Childcare (TFC). A tax-free childcare account is set up to support parents, and allows parents to get £2,000 a year in support from the government. This should only be used if parents aren’t already claiming either working tax or universal tax credits.

What is tax-free childcare?

Each month, parents can put in a sum of money and it will be topped up by 20%, each three month period. There is a maximum of £500 available for each child, so for parents to make the most out of the system, they should be putting £694.44 each month. This effectively saves 20% of your monthly fees up to £2,000 a year.

All you need to do is set up your account with the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. You can then search for Stepping Stones via our postcode NG1 4JA and start making payments towards your fees from the childcare account. All we will need from you is the 12-digit reference which will end in TFC.

Currently, you cannot use the tax-free childcare scheme if you are currently claiming childcare vouchers from your employee or claiming the childcare element of the working tax credit. You can find out more details on the website.

Read More

Need more help?

Contact us today if have any questions, or need any further information

If you need any further support applying for funding, universal tax credits, working tax credits, tax-free childcare or any questions, please email our Managing Director, Tom on [email protected] who is more than happy to help.