Buttercups Complete Guide to Funding

Childcare funding can save you a substantial amount on your monthly fees, but it can be very confusing. This guide will take you through what funding is available and how we implement it at Buttercups.

Types of funding:

Universal Funding

What is it? Child Age Who is Entitled?
15 free hours per week over term time 3 and 4 year olds Everyone!

Everyone can access this government funding, no matter how much you work or how much you earn. It essentially gives 15 free hours of childcare per week, but only during the 38 weeks of term-time.

Extended Funding

What is it? Child Age Who is Entitled?
Additional 15 hours per week over term-time (totalling 30 hours) 3 and 4 year olds Those who work at least 16 hours per week and earn less than £100,000 pa

Some parents will be entitled to an additional 15 free hours during term-time, adding up to 30 free hours per week for 38 weeks. To find out if you're eligible you can check the Government's website, but in a nutshell, if you are working at least 16 hours a week and neither you nor your partner earn more than £100,000 a year you should be able to claim it.

New Funding for 2 year olds

What is it? Child Age Who is Entitled?
15 free hours per week over term-time 2 year olds Those who work at least 16 hours per week and earn less than £100,000 pa

Since April 2024 many 2 year olds are eligible for 15 hours per week during term-time. To find out if you're eligible you can check the Government's website, but again, if you are working at least 16 hours per week and neither you nor your partner earn more than £100,000 a year you should be able to claim it.

How does it work?

The government funding applies term-time only, ie. 38 weeks of the year. At Buttercups we ‘stretch’ these free hours over the full year so that your fees stay the same every month. The non-funded hours that your child attends on top of these will be charged in the normal
way.

Additional fees

Unfortunately, the government funding does not cover everything we do at Buttercups; our on-site chefs cook nutritionally balanced meals and snacks daily, our specialist teachers offer languages, sports and other clubs, our extensive ongoing training programme ensures that all our team continue to learn and develop and many of our nurseries have qualified Montessori and Forest School teachers. So, we charge for a supplement towards these costs. This will be listed on your monthly invoice.

When does funding start?

All government funding starts from the term after your child turns 2 or 3 years old. So, if you child’s birthday is between 1 April and 31 August, they will receive it from the start of the Winter term (1 September). If your child’s birthday is between 1 September and 31 December, they will receive it from the start of the Spring term (1 January). And if your child’s birthday is between 1 January and 31 March, they will receive it from the start of the summer term.

How to apply

To apply you will need to get a code from the government via the website (www.Gov.uk/tax-freechildcare ) which you then give to your Nursery Head. The Head will need this code the term before your child will be claiming the funding:

-       For Spring term funding – 31 December
-       Summer term funding – 31 March
-       Autumn term funding – 31 August.

You will also need to renew these codes every three months to ensure they remain active.

Tax-free childcare

In addition to government funding, you may be eligible for up to £2,000 a year under the tax-free childcare scheme. Through this scheme you will receive £2 for every £8 you spend up to a total of £500 per 3 months, but this money can only be used for approved childcare. This can be claimed in addition to the funding above and is per child.

To qualify for tax-free childcare both parents usually need to be working at least 16 hours per week. As with other funding, you need to apply for a code which you then give to your Nursery Head.

For more information and a full list of eligibility criteria visit: www.Gov.uk/tax-freechildcare

Childcare Vouchers

In October 2018 Childcare vouchers were replaced by the Tax-free childcare system outlined above. Speak to us directly you wish to use an existing voucher scheme.

Workplace Nursery Schemes

Workplace Nursery Schemes take advantage of a piece of government legislation to encourage parents back to work. Through these schemes, employers partner with the nurseries. Parents save the tax and NI on all nursery payments. Employers save on NI and provide a meaningful benefit. Nurseries receive additional payments from the employers which are used to enhance the equipment and toys for the children to enjoy. Win, win, win. These can be used in additional to government funding but NOT with Tax-free childcare.

At Buttercups we work with Enjoy Benefits and TEDSPremier to provide Workplace Nursery Benefits. Talk to your employer to see if this is something that you could take advantage of.

Finally

We hope this guide has been useful to answer all your funding-related questions. But if you do need any more information, please talk to your Nursery Head or contact our Head Office Team.