Help with Childcare Fees

We know that for many families, childcare fees can be one of their biggest outgoings.

Getting your head round the different funding options can also be a real minefield. With that in mind, LEYF Nurseries have put a handy guide together to understanding childcare fees and different types of financial help available.



2-year-old funding

Many families with 2-year-olds are unaware they are eligible for free early years education. To qualify for the funding you must apply through your local authority and receive one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you receive when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Working Tax Credit/Child Tax Credit/Universal Credit and have a household income of £16,190 a year or less

Children are also entitled to a place if:

  • They’re looked after by a local council
  • They have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
  • They receive Disability Living Allowance
  • They have at some point been in care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

For more information on 2-year-old funding see check our website.


3 – 4-year-old funding

ALL 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free education a week for 38 weeks of the year (term time) from their local authority.

The free early years education can be at:

  • Day nurseries
  • Nursery schools and nurseries on school sites
  • Nursery classes in schools and academies
  • Children’s centres
  • Some playgroups and pre-schools
  • Child-minders

Further details on 3-4 year old funding can be found online. You may have heard that the government are planning to increase the number of free hours available to parents from 15 to 30. For more information on this here is a link to their website.


Universal Credit

If you’re on a low income or currently unemployed, you may be eligible for Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a simpler, monthly payment that replaces and merges together other benefits. The government is hoping to have everyone transitioned over to this system by the end of 2017. Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances, as does the amount you will receive.

Universal Credit can include support for housing, children and child care, disabilities or other health conditions or caring for someone with a disability. For more details check our website for guidance here.


Childcare vouchers

Childcare vouchers are a cost-saving employee benefit available to working parents. They operate as a salary sacrifice scheme, where contributions are taken before the usual tax and National Insurance deductions.

The exact amount you can save depends on your rate of tax, the amount of NI you pay and the total value of childcare vouchers you redeem every year. The figures below are for indicative purposes, for more information you should speak to your employer or a childcare voucher provider (see for a list and information on how to claim).

Tax band Maximum voucher allowance Maximum savings per annum
Weekly Monthly Yearly
Basic rate £55 £243 £2915 £933
Higher rate £28 £124 £1484 £623
Additional rate £25 £110 £1325 £622

More information at


Help for parents studying

A range of schemes exist for parents returning to study, including Care2Learn and the 19+ scheme. For more details see


How it works at LEYF

As a registered charity and social enterprise we offer high-quality childcare at the most competitive and affordable rates. LEYF supports around half of our parents to access a free nursery place. We do this through the Government’s free childcare schemes for 3-4-year-olds and some eligible 2-year-olds. We’re also the largest provider of the free two-year-old offer in London.

LEYF can occasionally offer short-term funding for nursery places to help parents back to work or following unexpected redundancy. We also have our Charlotte Grobien Fund, which offers emergency support for LEYF children who have attended one of our nurseries for some time. Funding is available if their family finds themselves in severe financial difficulties. Please note this is only available in particularly extreme circumstances.

All our nurseries have close links with the community which means we can give you information about other local sources of support. Find your local LEYF nursery here.

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