Three and four year old children in England are entitled to a free early learning placement. But if you qualify, you may be entitled to additional support to help cover the costs of early learning and childcare for your children. Where can you look to for help with preschool costs in England?
Free Nursery Education
According to Directgov, three and four year old children are entitled to receive 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks out of the year. Free nursery education continues until children reach compulsory school age, which is the term after they turn five.
Contact your Family Information Service (FIS) to find out more about free nursery education that is available where you live. Free nursery education is available in nurseries, playgroups, preschools or even in the home of childminders.
Working parents with one child may qualify for Child Tax Credit, which will help cover the cost of childcare. Low income parents may also qualify for Working Tax Credit, which will mean receiving up to 80 percent of your childcare costs back each week, depending on how much childcare costs and whether you have one or two children. Working parents who qualify for Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit must use a registered or approved childcare provider in order to benefit from childcare costs.
Financial Assistance for Students
Parents who are undergoing further education may be entitled to apply for additional financial help to cover their childcare costs. Students under the age of 20 can benefit from the Care to Learn Scheme, or through Learner Support Funds.
Parents in higher education can also apply for extra financial assistance in addition to standard student loans or grants. These include bursaries, Access to Learning Fund, Child Tax Credit or Childcare Grant. Student welfare advisers can provide you with further information on benefits you may be entitled to apply for as a student to help meet childcare costs.
Preschool costs in England can quickly add up, especially if you have more than one child of preschool age. Fortunately, parents who require help with preschool costs for their three or four year olds have a number of options available to them including free nursery education, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, and assistance for parents who are pursuing further education.
Directgov, Getting help with preschool costs.