This page provides links and information on childcare and early years funded places. This includes how to find childcare, help with childcare costs and setting up as a childcare provider.

Our partner site, can be used to find childcare by typing childcare in the keyword box at the top of the page and your postcode in the box to the right of this.

Types of Childcare

There are lots of different types of childcare on offer which you can mix and match to fit within your working hours, study or training. Information on the different types and what to consider when choosing childcare can be found on

Existing childcare support to working families is changing from April 2024. The phased approach will see most working families with children under the age of 5 entitled to 30 hours of childcare support. Families of primary school aged children will also be able to access formal childcare before and after the school day between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

Things to consider when choosing childcare

Paying for Childcare

There are number of different funded places that families can access to support them with the costs of childcare.

Families who receive additional support from the government, can get 15 hours of childcare for their child from the term following their child’s second birthday. They can also get 15 hours of childcare for their three year old under the universal offer. For two year old funding, parents need to apply for a funded place at

For families who wish to access the universal 15 hours only for their three year old, they can contact their chosen childcare provider directly – as no application is needed.

All Early Education is for 38 weeks of the year – term time only. Some childcare providers let families ‘stretch’ their hours over a longer period. This means families get less hours a week, over more weeks of the year. Talk to your chosen childcare provider about what they can provide and how it can work for you.

Families applying for the working families support with the cost of childcare should apply directly through a childcare account held with HMRC and apply the school term before their child is old enough to access their entitlement. Successful applications will receive an eligibility code, usually starting with the digits 50…and this needs to be provided to your chosen childcare provider, by the 31st of the month prior to accessing the entitlement. Failure to do so, or applying after the cut off date for the relevant term will result in the family not being able to access their entitlement until the following school term.

Once an applications has been successful, families must re-confirm their eligibility every 13 weeks to continue to access their entitlement. Failure to do so will result in the funded hours being withdrawn and the families will be expected to pay for any hours used with their provider at the childcare providers private fee paying rate.

When to apply

Child's birthday

Ideal time to apply to HMRC* Need eligibility code by Eligible from
January - March February 31 March 1 April
April - August June or July 31 August 1 September
September - December November 31 December 1 January

*or through Warrington Early Years Funding if families receives additional support from the government and applying for 15 hours for 2 year olds.

To check your eligibility and complete an application to receive your eligibility code to access 30 hours of funded childcare, go to the Childcare Choices website at

From 9 months Funded Early Education

From September 2024, the 15 hours of childcare support is being extended to eligible working parents of children who are from the age of nine months. Eligible families will apply for the funded hours through HMRC and can start using their funded hours, the school term following the child turning nine months. In September 2025, this entitlement will increase to 30 hours of childcare a week.    

A child turns nine months on the same calendar date of their actual birthday. For example, a child born on 2 January turns nine months on 2 October. The earliest they can access the funded hours is 1 January the following year.

Child turns 9 Ideal time to apply to HMRC Need eligibility code by Eligible from
January - March February 31 March 1 April
April - August June or July 31 August 1 September
September - December  November 31 December 1 January

2 Year Old Funded Early Education

Families of two year olds who get additional support from the government may be eligible to access a funded place from the term after their second birthday if their circumstances meet certain eligibility criteria. You can find out more and check to see if you are eligible at

For working parents, eligible families from April 2024, will be able to access 15 hours of childcare support. Parents should apply through a childcare account to HMRC directly and can do so from 2nd January 2024 for those who believe they will be eligible from the April of that year.

Some families may be eligible to both the 15 hours for families receiving additional government support and the working parent scheme. Until the 30 hour roll out in September 2025, we would advise families in these circumstances apply for the additional government support scheme rather than the working parent offer.

3 and 4 Year Old Funded Early Education

Funded Early Education places are available to all three and four year olds from the term after their third birthday until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday). Their last term of funding will be the term with their 5th birthday in it or when they start reception – whichever is first.  

All three and four year olds are entitled to 570 hours of childcare, which is usually taken as 15 hours per week, over 38 weeks the year. This is known as the universal offer.

You do not need to apply to HMRC or to Warrington Early Years Funding team to access the universal 15 hours of funded childcare. 

Places are available at all types of childcare providers as long as they are registered to deliver early years education places.  The level of flexibility that is offered will depend on a childcare provider's individual circumstances.

30 Hours for eligible 3 and 4 Year Olds

The majority of working parents of three and four year olds could be eligible for an additional 15 hours of childcare per week. This is commonly referred to as 30 hours funded childcare. Families of working parents applying for the additional 15 hours childcare,  should apply directly through a childcare account held with HMRC.

There is a different process for 30 hours funded childcare for foster carers. For full details of the eligibility, when to apply and an application form, please contact the Early Years Funding team at

You can also use the Childcare Calculator at to see what offers are available to support you and your family.

Families who have parents that are maternity, paternity or adoption leave or unable to work due to recognised health conditions or caring responsibilities may still be eligible to apply for the working parent entitlement. Contact HMRC directly to discuss your circumstances, 0300 123 4097. You can also contact them on this number if you experience problems or have further questions finding out your eligibility or have questions. You can use the Childcare Calculator at to see what offers are available to support you and your family.

To find out what scheme is best for you and your family, visit

Working in Childcare

Have you thought about a career in childcare?

Early years employability support pack

For a rewarding, challenging, progressive, flexible, and fun career... choose childcare

This short video from the National Day Nursery Association provides an idea of what a day in the life of an early years practitioner is really like. Please note there might be adverts before the video starts playing.

Try taster days, work experience, childcare apprenticeships or become a childminding assistant. More information can be found by visiting:

Working in childcare -

#firstfiveyearscount - NDNA

MITEY – Men In The Early Years (

Starting a childcare business

Information on how to register and run a childcare business can be found on website

Starting a nursery or other daycare and running the business - GOV.UK (

Become a childminder or nanny (England): Overview - GOV.UK (

Training and Professional Development

Information on the courses that are currently running as well as additional resources can be found on MyEarlyYearsServices – Warrington website. To book a place on any course, you need to be registered on My Early Years Services

There are childcare training courses that cater for all childcare practitioners, including childminders, if you're looking to develop your skills and meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), the common core of skills and knowledge for the children's workforce, and Ofsted.

20 December 2023