Paying for childcare

Help paying for childcare

Childcare costs can be expensive. Below are details of the childcare options and support available that can help.

If you need further information, contact the Early Years Hub.

Childcare calculator

Use this calculator to find out how much you could get towards registered childcare, including:

  • free childcare for children aged between 2 and 4
  • help with childcare costs if your child is under 16 (or under 17 and has additional needs)

It should only take around 10 minutes. You’ll need information about you and your partner (if you have one), including:

  • how much you spend on childcare
  • any benefits you or your child gets
  • your income

Check what help you could get with childcare costs with the childcare calculator

Early Years Education

Every child aged 3-4 years in Wales is entitled to a minimum of 10 hours per week of government-funded early years education for 39 weeks of the year.

Early years education is available from the term following a child’s 3rd birthday in an approved early years setting which can be a nursery class in a school, an approved pre-school or playgroup/Cylchoedd Meithrin, or an approved day nursery.

Visit the early years education section of this website for further details and how to apply.

Childcare Offer

Under the Childcare Offer for Wales, you could claim up to 30 hours of early education and childcare per week, for up to 48 weeks of the year.

Eligible children aged 3-4 years could be entitled to government funded childcare from the term following their 3rd birthday until they are in full time education.

This means that, as well as 10 hours of part-time Early Years Education, your child could also be entitled to 20 hours of funded childcare during term time, and 30 hours during school holidays.

Visit our Childcare Offer for Wales section of this website for further details and how to apply.

Flying start

If you live in a Flying Start area your child is entitled to funded childcare for 2.5 hours per day, 5 days a week for 39 weeks from the term following their second birthday to the term in which they celebrate their third birthday.

Visit the Flying Start section of this website to find out if you live in a Flying Start area and how to apply.

Tax-free childcare

Tax-free Childcare is a government scheme that pays 20% of childcare costs in a registered childcare setting up to a maximum of £2000 each year. The scheme is open to all parents of children under 12 (or under 17 if disabled). You can apply to open a Tax-free Childcare account online.

Visit the website for details about tax free childcare.

Students with children

If you’re an undergraduate student who has children or there is an adult who relies on you financially during your studies, you can apply for extra funding.

Find out more on the Student Finance Wales website.

Students in further education studying in Wales may be able to claim help with the cost of childcare from the Financial Contingency Fund. Contact your school or college for further information.

Family members caring for a child under 12

If you are a family member over 16 but under State Pension age and you’re caring for a child under 12 (usually while the parent or main carer is working) you may be entitled to claim National Insurance Credits. This includes care that you’re providing from a distance because of coronavirus (COVID-19) – for example, by telephone or video call while you’re self-isolating.

Find out more on the Gov.UK website.

Additional needs referral scheme

Support is available for families struggling to understand their child’s behaviour, action or needs by helping to find a suitable playgroup or nursery.

Visit the Childcare for children with additional developmental needs webpage for details.

Wraparound childcare  for service personnel

The Ministry of Defence has announced a full UK-wide rollout of the Wraparound Childcare Scheme (WAC) from Autumn 2022.

From the start of the 2022 autumn term, WAC funding will be available to all eligible Service families with children aged 4 to 11 years, who are in school or being home schooled in the UK. If eligible, personnel can claim up to 20 hours per week of funding for each child that is attending before and after school care during term time. Wraparound childcare is also known as ‘Out of School care’ in Wales and ‘School Aged Childcare’ in Scotland.

Every child that personnel want to claim WAC funding for must be recorded on JPA and must have a Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) account.


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