We receive regular questions about what funding is available for early (pre-school) childcare in England.
There is a nursery education grant for all three and four year olds, regardless of nationality, as long as the child is legally resident in the UK.
This is sometimes wrongly interpreted as free nursery care, covering 15 hours a week during term times. In effect the grant will only make a contribution to the cost of childcare, as the funding is set at an insufficient level for most nurseries to cover costs.
From 2017 this will double to 30 hours per week but again with the funding level set very low.
The nurseries manage the grant so families receive the money back as a refund or reduced fees.
There is also funding available for under-3’s but this is means-tested and most corporate families are unlikely to be eligible for this.
Free nursery care can be available for three and four year olds through nurseries attached to a state school and some (though very few) state school nurseries.
Some companies also provide childcare vouchers that allow some tax relief on nursery care. The company HR would be able to advise on the scheme.