Wednesday 8th July 2020

(Not to be confused with recent wraparound childcare news)

Parents should be aware that in overseas locations the Ministry of Defence funds the free childcare entitlement, and prior to being posted back to the UK, parents should read the country specific instructions below, to find out what their entitlement will be and what they need to do to apply. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offer differing entitlements and the application process may vary. 

Moving to England 

Parents are unable to apply for 30 hours free childcare online whilst posted outside of England. To allow parents to not lose out on this entitlement, a manual process has been put in place to ensure parents can access the 30 hours code. This enables parents to plan for their return. Parents who are due to return to England, after a term deadline, but are aware of this move prior to a term deadline, can apply for a manual 30 hours code for their return. Parents must call the Childcare Service helpline on 0300 123 4097 and request a manual application. See table for term deadlines and when to apply. HMRC will determine eligibility for the scheme by completing a manual application at the time of the call. If all eligibility criteria are met, the parent will need to provide HMRC with evidence of returning to England. This evidence will be in the form of an assignment order or civilian posting notice. When this document is received and verified by HMRC, the parent will be issued with a manual 30 hours code to the email address supplied when completing the application. HMRC will provide details of where to send documents at time of application. The 30 hours code can be given to the childcare provider prior to, or, upon their return to England. Parents can apply for a 30 hours code from when their child is aged 2 years and 36 weeks. Children qualify from the term following their third birthday. 

When your child turns 3 When they can get 30 hours from Recommended time to apply 
1 September to 31 December 1 January 15 October to 30 November 
1 January to 31 March 1 April 15 January to 28 February 
1 April to 31 August 1 September 15 June to 31 July 

Moving to Scotland 

The Scottish Government has pledged to increase paid-for nursery places from the current 16 hours to 30 hours for children aged 3 and 4, and eligible two-year-olds, by August 2020. Please visit the Scottish government pages for the latest information. 

Moving to Wales 

Wales provides 30 hours a week of free early education and childcare for working parents of children aged 3 and 4 years for 48 weeks of the year. Applications are dealt with directly by each Local Authority’s Family Information Service (FIS) where the parents reside. 

Moving to Northern Ireland 

Parents of children aged 3 and 4 years can apply to receive 12.5 hours per week of free, also known as funded, preschool education in Northern Ireland. This allocation can only be taken over 2.5 hours per day, 5 days a week, during term time. Places are provided by nursery schools, primary schools with nursery units and some voluntary and private providers. The places cannot be provided by childminders.  

The latest information delivered to your inbox  

This story comes to you as part of the RAF FF’s themed month of July for all things relating to financial matters. As well as our online reference section on finances, you can keep yourself up to date with the information and advice – available by signing up to our (free) weekly eBulletin and/or quarterly Envoy magazine

July Finance Month

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash 

Back to news Subscribe to eBulletin