All three and four year olds are entitled to free early years education, comprising five 2½ hour daily sessions a week, for three terms each year. Some 2 year olds are also eligible. Parents do not contribute towards this minimum entitlement but may be charged fees for any services or childcare that is additional to the free place.
This early years education is with a ‘registered provider’ such as a school, nursery or playgroup. Some large employers provide registered early years education at the workplace. The Government funds local authorities to ensure a free part-time early education place is available for every three and four year old in settings that have been inspected by Ofsted and found satisfactory in terms of quality in England.
Families with children can claim Child Tax Credit. The amount you get depends on your annual income and is paid directly into the bank of the main carer.
The other tax credit you may be entitled to, if either you or your partner is working, is called Working Tax Credit. It includes a childcare element to help families who are working and spending money on childcare.