What happens to the funding if my child attends more than one nursery?
You can say on your Parent Declaration Form how you want to allocate your free hours between your chosen providers. You will need to talk to your providers about what they can offer you before completing your form.
Why does the childcare provider need a copy of my child's birth certificate?
The childcare provider needs to confirm your child's date of birth to ensure that they are of an eligible age to access a free place. If you do not have a copy of your child's birth certificate you can order one from HM Passport Office Certificate ordering service (opens in a new window).
Can my child attend a childcare provider outside of Worcestershire?
Your child can attend a childcare provider in another local authority; however, that local authority will fund your child’s place. The childcare provider will be able to tell you how to claim in their area.
Can my child attend a setting in Worcestershire if I do not live in Worcestershire?
Yes, your child can access their free hours at a Worcestershire setting. You will need to apply to Worcestershire County Council.
Do I have to pay for the free place?
You should not be charged for the free hours. Worcestershire County Council pays the childcare provider directly for your child's free hours. The childcare provider will then use this payment to provide early education for your child. Some childcare providers offer free hours at specific times. It is advisable to check that the childcare provider is able to offer free hours at a time which meets your individual needs. If you choose to take up any additional hours or services from your childcare provider, you will be charged accordingly for these.
Can lunchtime be classed as part of the free entitlement?
The free place can be taken over a lunch break if this is offered by your childcare provider. Your childcare provider may offer a meal at an additional cost; however you should also have the choice to provide your own packed lunch.
Is there any additional funding for a child with Special Educational Needs?
If a child has Special Educational Needs (SEN), their entitlement is still a maximum of 15 free hours. Where a child with SEN attends a specialist provision (such as a Special School or a Speech and Language Unit), the free hours must be allocated to these providers first, before they are used on other provision. If a child attends a specialist provision for less than 15 hours, children will be able to receive their remaining entitlement at any other funded provider.
Can I be charged a fee if I only want to use the free place?
You cannot be charged a registration fee if your child only accesses free hours. If your child accesses additional hours and/or services, a registration fee may be charged. Providers can charge a refundable deposit to secure your child's free hours. Your provider must refund this deposit to you by the end of the first term that you use your free hours. Please discuss this with your childcare provider.
Can I be charged during holiday periods?
If you have agreed with your provider to stretch your free hours over the holiday periods then you will not be charged. However, you will be charged if you are using more than the free hours agreed with your provider.
If you are not using your free hours over the holiday periods and don't want to pay for additional hours over the holidays then your childcare provider might not be able to guarantee your child's place for the following term. You may have the option to pay a retainer to guarantee your child's place for the following term but it is best to speak to your provider about this.
If my child is unwell, is the free place affected?
You are not able to claim back any free hours that your child has been unable to attend due to illness. The free hours will be used to keep your child's place open for their return. If your child is unwell and unable to attend for more than four weeks, please contact your childcare provider to discuss your child's place.
If I take a short holiday, how does this affect my child’s free place?
If your child is unable to attend due to a family holiday, their free hours will normally be used to keep their free place open until they return. Alternatively, if you discuss your holiday with your childcare provider, you may be able to pay a retainer to keep your child’s place open. This may mean that your child can receive their free hours later in the term. This would be at the discretion of your childcare provider and they are under no obligation to offer this.
I am not sure that my child is receiving all of their free hours – what should I do?
Your childcare provider should provide you with a clear invoice and you should be confident about how your childcare fees have been calculated. If you are concerned, please arrange to speak to your childcare provider who should be able to explain your fees. If you are concerned please contact your Family Information Service.
What if I want to change provider?
If you would like to transfer your free hours to another provider you can contact the Family Information Service who can support you to do this.
What happens if I am awarded funding and then get a job? Do I lose my funding?
No. Once funding has been awarded it will remain in place regardless of any changes to your circumstances.
Does the free place affect the claim that I make for the childcare element of the working tax credit?
For Tax Credit purposes you can only claim for childcare costs that you will be paying for. For further information, please contact the Inland Revenue Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900.