Help with fees

Need help with your childcare fees?


The cost of childcare can take up a large chunk of the family budget. Help with childcare costs is available from the government and employers – from Tax-Free Childcare to Funded Childcare Hours.

As well as the information we have provided you can go to HMRC Childcare Choices https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. or https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs 

Childcare Choices

  • Early Education Entitlement
  • Tax Free Childcare Scheme
  • Help from Employers
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit
  • Universal Credit

 

Early Education Entitlement is funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds funded by the government. This is a universal offer, which means it is available for all and there is no eligibility criteria to be met. We are registered to receive the Funded Early Education Entitlement (FEEE), which is available to all children the term after their 3rd birthday up until they reach compulsory school age and this covers the cost of up to 15 hours of pre school education per week during term time (excluding meals and consumables).

The FEEE is at the heart of the Government’s vision for all children to have access to high quality early years education. Evidence shows that regular good quality early education has long lasting benefits for all children (Essex County Council, Provider Handbook, April 2017).

Some disadvantaged 2 year olds may also receive the entitlement. Unlike the 3 and 4 year old entitlement this is not a universal offer from the government. This is a targeted offer to a limited number of 2 year olds and is subject to eligibility criteria and an application process. Again it covers the cost of up to 15 hours of education per week during term time. (see below for more information)

As we are open 52 weeks of the year and the entitlement only covers term-time places of 38 weeks per year, spaces are limited for funded term-time only placements and are subject to days and times that we have available.

The majority of our parents use the 15 hours per week x 38 weeks= 570 hours of funded childcare per annum and pay for the additional hours and meals and consumables they need so that they can keep their child in all-year-round childcare. At Toad Hall we offer flexibility and stretch the 38 weeks up to 52 weeks (still no more than 570 funded hours per annum) so that each term our parents have a fixed amount they pay for additional hours and services. Parents are also able to choose the hours and sessions they want the funding to apply to, which can be a mix of morning or afternoon sessions, full days or nursery days or a combination.

The offer

Up to 15 hours a week over a minimum of two days (if the offer is stretched over more than 38 weeks the hours per week are reduced)

Length of offer

38 weeks or up to 52 weeks for a stretched offer (no more than 570 hours per annum)

Maximum hours per day

10 hours

Number of providers

  • For 3 and 4 year olds, parents can use their 15 free hours over a maximum of two participating providers
  • The FEEE for eligible two year olds may be accessed at one provider only

Times

Not before 7.00am or after 7.00pm

 

A child born in the period

Will become eligible for a funded place

1 April to 31 August

1 September following a child’s third birthday

1 September to 31 December

1 January following a child’s third birthday

1 January to 31 March

1 April following a child’s third birthday

 

In Essex, the entitlement has increased to 30 hours per week funded childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds,  however this is not a universal offer and parents need to check their eligibility on the GOV.UK website. 

To qualify for the full 30 hours of free childcare, both parents must be working; each parent (or the sole parent in a single parent family) will need to earn, on average, the equivalent of 16 hours on the national minimum wage per week, and no more than £100,000 per year. 

Self-employed parents, parents on zero-hours contracts and those on sick or parental leave will be eligible if they meet the average earnings threshold. The additional funded hours will also be available where one parent is employed but the other has substantial caring responsibilities or is disabled.

It is important to note that the minimum threshold is based on money earned, not hours worked – so if a parent works for 10 hours per week but still earns the equivalent of 16 hours at national minimum or living wage, they will be eligible for the 30-hour offer.

In cases where parents are separated, eligibility applies to the parent with whom the child ‘normally lives’. Where the parent of a child has a ‘partner’ – i.e. a person to whom they are married, have a civil partnership, or live with, the eligibility criteria also applies to that partner.

Parents are able to apply now for the 30-hour scheme (as well as the tax-free childcare scheme) through a joint online application developed by HMRC https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk , which includes an eligibility checking system. Once parents successfully apply online, they will be given a code, which they then provide to their chosen provider(s). Providers then use the eligibility checking system to check that the code is valid and if it is, book that child’s place. If no spaces are available parents will need to contact Essex County Council at: early.years@essex.gov.uk who can look for alternative providers for their child.

Parents are expected to reconfirm their eligibility every three months. Any parents who provide false information about their eligibility can be fined between £300 and £3000 by HMRC.

If a parent’s circumstances change and they become eligible for the 30–hour offer, local authorities are expected to secure a funded place for the child or children ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable’ during the term they become eligible and no later the start of the next term. It is not for providers to find spaces, however parents can always check with their provider or chosen provider to see if they have any spaces.

If a parent’s circumstances change and they become ineligible for the 30-hour offer, local authorities will be required to continue funding their place for a ‘grace period’, which will be the same across the country.  This grace period will be automatically administered through the eligibility checking system.

Any child who is no longer eligible for the 30-hour offer will still be eligible for the universal 15-hour free entitlement offer. 

We will be offering the 30-hours, in the same way we deliver the 15 hours. Please note, that as we are open 52 weeks of the year spaces will be limited for funded term-time-only placements and there will be conditions applied to these. We will offer flexibility as we currently offer with the 15-hour funding, which will include offering different patterns of attendance. The actual entitlement is 30-hours x 38 weeks = 1140 hours per annum maximum (compared to 570 hours for the universal offer).

With the extended entitlement, providers will be able to deliver the funded entitlement from as early as 6am,and to as late as 8pm. However, the rule that no session should be longer than 10 hours is remaining, so for example, a funded session that started at 6am would have to end by no later than 4pm. If parents, want their child to stay later they would need to pay the provider for these extra hours and services. There will be no minimum session length. Please note that Toad Hall is open from 7am-7pm.

The government will limit the number of sites on which children can take up their free entitlement in a single day or two. However, there is no restriction on the number of providers that parents can use in a week or a month, although the DfE says that ‘parents and providers should be mindful of the impact on the continuity of care of the child when using a number of providers’. Toad Hall have made it a condition that parents wishing to access the 30-hours will need to choose Toad Hall for the universal 15 hours funding if they wish to split the 30 hours with another provider/s (i.e. want to use less than 30 hours but more than 15 hours with ourselves need to select Toad Hall for the first 15 hours and then other providers after). We will be unable to offer the additional hours if parents do not use Toad Hall for the universal 15 hours funding.

As with the 15-hour offer, the government has stated that funding for the 30-hour offer is only for the provision of early years education and care, and is not intended to cover the cost of consumable items, such as drinks, meals, snacks, nappies, craft supplies or additional services such as music lessons and trips. Please refer to our Fees for the costings.

Hard Facts

Would there be anything to pay if you are accessing the 30-hours? If you are given a free term-time-only space then 'no', so long as you provide your child with the consumable items they need, such as drinks, snacks, lunch, nappies, sun-cream etc. Providers can provide you with a termly costing but it is up to the parent to decide whether they want to pay the provider or provide their own. (Please note, most settings will insist on parents providing healthy snacks and lunches that are nut free) If you are accessing additional hours over the 30-hours and/ or are attending all-year-round then 'yes', you will be charged for the additional hours plus the cost of consumables items. (We would continue to do what we do now, which is to provide parents with a fixed monthly amount for each term so that they know what their costs are). 

Will my child get a place? All settings are limited to the number of children they can take, so if a setting is full and you want a place the answer is going to be 'no', you will need to contact Essex County Council as it is their responsibility to find places. If your child currently attends a setting but again they are full and you want to increase your child's hours so that you take up the 30-hours, the answer is going to be 'no', parents will need to contact Essex County Council as it is for them to find you a place elsewhere for the additional hours you require.  However, if your child attends a setting and you are already accessing 30- hours per week or you are happy with the hours your child attends then you are fine as your child already has a place until they are due to leave for school. 

It's worth checking spaces available and making sure that you have what you need ahead of time. Don't leave it to the last minute. 

All 3-and 4-year-olds will remain entitled to 15 hours of early education per week during term time, regardless of the employment status of their parents.

 

Two Year Olds

The FEEE for two year olds is not a universal offer, only eligible children may access this funding via an application process. Families can apply for funding online, or through a childcare provider, Children’s Center, health visitor, social worker or specialist teacher.

To apply online the parent/carer should go to: https://emsonline.essexcc.gov.uk/CitizenPortal_LIVE/ and register. They then need to Log in and click on ‘Funded Early Education for Two Year Olds’ to complete an application. Once the application is submitted eligibility will be checked and if eligible the applicant will be given a reference number, which they can take to a childcare provider, such as Toad Hall, to access the free place.

Two year olds who meet any one of the following criteria are eligible for the FEEE.

o They meet the criteria used to determine eligibility for Free School Meals as follows:

  • Their family receives Income Support
  • Their family receives Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
  • Their family receives Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Their family receives Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Their family receives The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Their family receives Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not exceeding £16,190
  • Their family receives Working Tax Credit during the four week period immediately after their employment finishes or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week

o Their family receives Working Tax Credits and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190

o They have a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care plan

o They are entitled to Disability Living Allowance

o They are looked after by a local authority

o They are no longer looked after by the local authority as a result of an adoption order, a special guardianship order or a child arrangements order which specifies with whom the child lives.

Local authorities must ensure that two-year-olds who have met the eligibility criteria set out above continue to receive a place once they have taken it up even if the child ceases to meet these criteria at a later date.

Eligible children may access a FEEE funded place in the term following their second birthday, see table below.

 

A child born in the period

Will become eligible for a funded place

1 April to 31 August

1 September following a child’s second birthday

1 September to 31 December

1 January following a child’s second birthday

1 January to 31 March

1 April following a child’s second birthday

 

Parents/ Carers need to present their child’s birth certificate to the provider, i.e. Toad Hall to confirm their eligibility for the FEEE. Essex County Council may ask to see evidence that the provider has checked birth certificates therefore providers are recommended to make a note of the number to confirm that this has been seen.

 

Information provided on this page has been taken from Essex County Council, Provider Handbook, April 2019 and Pre-school Learning Alliance, A Guide to Early Years Funding and Delivery Changes , 2017.  

Please check www.gov.uk for any updates 

 

 

 

Tax Free Childcare Scheme

 

If you're a working parent with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children), you can open an online account to pay for registered childcare.

The government will top-up the money you pay into the account. For every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2. You can receive up to £2,000per child per year - that's up to £500 every three months. If you have a disabled child, you can receive up to £4,000 per child - that's up to £1,000 every three months.

Am I eligible?

You’ll need to expect to earn a certain amount over the next 3 months. This is at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week on average.

For example, over the next 3 months you expect to earn at least £1,853.28 - the National Living Wage for people over 23.

If you have a partner, they’ll need to expect to earn at least this much too.

If you’re self-employed and do not expect to make enough profit in the next 3 months, you can use an average of how much you expect to make over the current tax year.

This earnings limit does not apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.

If you or your partner have an expected ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 in the current tax year you will not be eligible. This includes any bonuses you expect to get.

Your adjusted net income is your total taxable income before any personal allowances and minus things like Gift Aid.

How can I benefit?

You can use Tax-Free Childcare all year round to help pay:

  • Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
  • Registered after-school clubs and playschemes
  • Registered schools
  • Home careworkers working for a registered home care agency

You can use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as:

You can'tuse it with:

 

Apply Here:   Tax Fee Childcare or visit https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk

 

 

 

Information taken from Gov.UK please check their site for any updates

Childcare Vouchers and Workplace Nursery Benefit are two schemes your employer can help with fees.

 

Childcare Vouchers (from Employers for Childcare)

The Childcare Voucher scheme allows working parents the opportunity to sacrifice part of their pre-tax salary to pay for registered childcare.  As a result, they make savings on their Tax and National Insurance – up to £933 per parent, per year.

How does the scheme work?

Childcare Vouchers are operated through salary sacrifice.  A salary sacrifice arrangement is an agreement to reduce an employee’s entitlement to cash pay, usually in return for a non-cash benefit.

Under the Childcare Voucher scheme employees may ‘sacrifice’ part of their pay in exchange for Childcare Vouchers, to save money on tax and National Insurance Contributions. To avail of these savings employees can only use Childcare Vouchers to pay for registered childcare.

Each eligible parent can sacrifice a maximum of £243 per month from their salary into their Childcare Voucher account.

Anyone who is currently signed up the Childcare Voucher scheme through their employer, and who has made at least one salary sacrifice payment into their account in the previous 52 weeks, can continue to use Childcare Vouchers to help them to pay for their childcare, for as long as they are eligible. However, the Government closed the Childcare Voucher scheme to new entrants in October 2018, so it is not now possible to join the scheme.

To remain eligible parents must:

  • Stay with the same employer
  • Make at least one payment into their account every 52 weeks (more than £0)
  • Not leave the Childcare Voucher scheme to join Tax-Free Childcare.

For more information on how the Childcare Voucher scheme operates, you can download the Employers for Childcare Employee Guide to Salary Sacrifice and their Employee Terms and Conditions guides here, as an example.

https://www.employersforchildcare.org/parents/vouchers-information/

Or you can visit:

https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/childcare-vouchers

 or

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/childcare-vouchers/

 

 

Workplace Nursery Benefit (from Enjoy Benefits)


You can choose any approved nursery, such as Toad Hall

If your monthly nursery fees are £1000, you can save around £4200 per year!

You can use Workplace Nursery even if you have an existing childcare voucher scheme in place, speak to your employer.

Workplace Nursery Provision: Savings for Parents, Employers and Nurseries

  • Parents typically pay for childcare from the birth of their child up to around the age of 12 years old.
  • Childcare costs are heavily loaded with the years from birth to 5 years old being the most expensive.
  • Most parents choose to use a nursery for the care of their child when they return to work.

The cost of nursery care is often more than a new parent’s mortgage or monthly rent. This can influence a new parent’s return-to-work decision.

  • The Workplace Nursery benefit offers maximum levels of saving allowing the business to make the return to work decision far easier for employees.
  • Enjoy Benefits specialise in helping parents, employers and nurseries benefit from existing childcare legislation that would otherwise be too costly and time-consuming to implement themselves.

For more information you can find out how a workplace nursery works 

What savings are available?

Monthly fees

Savings for Basic rate taxpayer

Savings for Higher rate taxpayer

£700

£2059

£2992

£800

£2353

£3419

£900

£2648

£3846

£1000

£2942

£4274

£1100

£3236

£4701

£1200

£3530

£5129

Better still, it saves your Employer money too.

For more information go to:

https://www.enjoybenefits.co.uk/staff-benefits-savings/workplace-nursery-benefit

or

https://www.gov.uk/expenses-and-benefits-childcare/whats-exempt

Child Tax Credit

Overview

You can only make a claim for Child Tax Credit if you already get Working Tax Credit.

If you cannot apply for Child Tax Credit, you can apply for Universal Credit instead.

You might be able to apply for Pension Credit if you and your partner are State Pension age or over.

What you’ll get

The amount you can get depends on how many children you’ve got and whether you’re:

Child Tax Credit will not affect your Child Benefit.

You can only claim Child Tax Credit for children you’re responsible for.

If you're making a new claim

You can only make a claim for Child Tax Credit if you already get Working Tax Credit.

You can only claim Child Tax Credit for children you’re responsible for.

What you’ll get

The amount you could get depends on when your children were born.

If all your children were born before 6 April 2017

You could get the ‘child element’ of Child Tax Credit for all of your children.

You’ll also get the basic amount, known as the ‘family element’.

If one or more of your children were born on or after 6 April 2017

You could get the child element of Child Tax Credit for up to 2 children. You might get the child element for more children if exceptions apply.

You’ll only get the family element if at least one of your children was born before 6 April 2017.

Child Tax Credit rates for the 2021 to 2022 tax year
ElementYearly amount
The basic amount (this is known as ‘the family element’) Up to £545
For each child (this is known as ‘the child element’) Up to £2,845
For each disabled child Up to £3,435 (on top of the child element)
For each severely disabled child Up to £1,390 (on top of the child element and the disabled child element)

Use the tax credit calculator to work out how much you could get.

 

taken from gov.uk (check their site for updates)

 

Working Tax Credit

Eligibility

You can only make a claim for Working Tax Credit if you already get Child Tax Credit.

If you cannot apply for Working Tax Credit, you can apply for Universal Creditinstead.

You might be able to apply for Pension Credit if you and your partner are State Pension age or over.

Hours you work

You must work a certain number of hours a week to qualify.

CircumstanceHours a week
Aged 25 to 59 At least 30 hours
Aged 60 or over At least 16 hours
Disabled At least 16 hours
Single with 1 or more children At least 16 hours
Couple with 1 or more children Usually, at least 24 hours between you (with 1 of you working at least 16 hours)

A child is someone who is under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training).

Use the tax credits calculator to check if you work the right number of hours.

You can still apply for Working Tax Credit if you’re on leave.

Exceptions for couples with at least one child

You can claim if you work less than 24 hours a week between you and one of the following applies:

  • you work at least 16 hours a week and you’re disabled or aged 60 or above
  • you work at least 16 hours a week and your partner is incapacitated (getting certain benefits because of disability or ill health), is entitled to Carer’s Allowance, or is in hospital or prison
What counts as work

Your work can be:

If you’re self-employed

Some self-employed people are not eligible for Working Tax Credit. To qualify, your self-employed work must aim to make a profit. It must also be commercial, regular and organised.

This means you may not qualify if you do not:

  • make a profit or have clear plans to make one
  • work regularly
  • keep business records, such as receipts and invoices
  • follow any regulations that apply to your work, for example having the right licence or insurance

If the average hourly profit from your self-employed work is less than the National Minimum Wage, HM Revenue and Customs may ask you to provide:

  • business records
  • your business plan - find out how to write a business plan
  • details of the day-to-day running of your business
  • evidence that you’ve promoted your business - such as advertisements or flyers
Your pay

The work must last at least 4 weeks (or you must expect it to last 4 weeks) and must be paid.

This can include payment in kind (for example farm produce for a farm labourer) or where you expect to be paid for the work.

Exceptions

Paid work does not include money paid:

  • for a ‘Rent a Room’ scheme (less than £7,500 or £3,750 for joint owners)
  • for work done while in prison
  • as a grant for training or studying
  • as a sports award
Your income

There’s no set limit for income because it depends on your circumstances (and those of your partner). For example, £18,000 for a couple without children or £13,100 for a single person without children - but it can be higher if you have children, pay for approved childcare or one of you is disabled.

What you'll get

You get a basic amount and extra (known as ‘elements’) on top of this.

How much you get depends on things like your circumstances and income.

The basic amount is up to £2,005 a year.

ElementAmount
You’re a couple applying together Up to £2,060 a year
You’re a single parent Up to £2,060 a year
You work at least 30 hours a week Up to £830 a year
You have a disability Up to £3,240 a year
You have a severe disability Up to £1,400 a year (usually on top of the disability payment)
You pay for approved childcare Up to £122.50 (1 child) or £210 (2 or more children) a week

Use the tax credits calculator to work out how much you could get.

How you’re paid

Money is paid directly into your bank or building society account, every week or 4 weeks.

You must choose one account if you’re a couple.

Usually, you’re paid from the date of your claim up to the end of the tax year (5 April).

If your circumstances change

Your tax credits can go up or down if your family or work life change if you start a new job, you’re laid off work or your partner dies.

You must report these changes to HM Revenue and Customs.

How to claim

You can no longer make a new claim for Working Tax Credit. You can apply for Universal Credit instead.

You might be able to apply for Pension Credit if you and your partner are State Pension age or over.

You can only make a claim for Working Tax Credit if you already get Child Tax Credit.

To claim Working Tax Credit, update your existing tax credit claim by reporting a change in your circumstances online or by phone.

 

Taken from gov.uk - please check their site for updates

 

Universal Credit is a benefit for people in, and out of, work. It replaces six existing benefits, including Working Tax Credit.

Working families who qualify for Universal Credit can claim back up to 85% of their monthly childcare costs.

You must pay for the childcare upfront first and provide receipts to get money back. You can only claim for childcare that has taken place during your assessment period.

If you already get other benefits

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

If you currently get any of these benefits, you do not need to do anything unless:

  • you have a change of circumstances you need to report
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit

If you get tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit. Check how tax credits and Universal Credit affect each other.

Eligibility

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family usually also need settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to get Universal Credit. The deadline to apply to the scheme was 30 June 2021 for most people, but you might still be able to apply. Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get.

Use a benefits calculator to check what benefits you could get if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit.

If you live with your partner

Your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.

If you’re 18 or over and in training or studying full-time

You can make a new claim for Universal Credit if any of the following apply:

  • you live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re responsible for a child, either as a single person or as a couple
  • you’re in further education, are 21 or under and do not have parental support, for example you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care
If you’re moving from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You can make a new claim for Universal Credit if you’re in full-time education and all of the following apply:

  • you’re entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • you’ve already been assessed as having limited capability for work
  • you make a new claim before your ESA ends or as soon as you’re notified that your ESA claim has ended
If you’re 16 or 17

You can make a new claim for Universal Credit if any of the following apply:

  • you have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
  • you’re caring for a severely disabled person
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple with responsibility for at least one child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re pregnant and it’s 11 weeks or less before your expected week of childbirth
  • you’ve had a child in the last 15 weeks
  • you do not have parental support, for example you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care
If you’re studying full-time

You can also make a claim if you’re in full-time further education and any of the following apply:

  • you do not have parental support and you’re not under local authority care
  • you have limited capability for work and you’re entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple with responsibility for a child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
If you’re in a couple and one of you is State Pension age

You and your partner can claim Universal Credit as a couple if one of you is under State Pension age and eligible for Universal Credit.

When you both reach State Pension age your Universal Credit claim will stop.

You may be able to apply for Pension Credit or other benefits as a couple when your Universal Credit stops. Ask your Jobcentre Plus work coach what else you could be eligible for.

What you'll get

Your Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply to you, for example if you:

  • have children
  • have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working
  • need help paying your rent

Use a benefits calculator to see how much you could get.

How much Universal Credit you get will depend on your earnings.

Your circumstances are assessed every month. Changes in your circumstances can affect how much you’re paid for the whole assessment period - not just from the date you report them.

The benefit cap may limit the total amount of benefit you receive.

 

Taken from gov.uk - take a look at their site for any updates