30 hours free childcare policy

What is 30 hours free childcare funding?

30 hours funding is actually an additional 15 hours free childcare which is means tested.

It is available to children aged 3-5 years of age.


Please find more information on the governments specially designed website here: 


You are able to share your additional 15 hours with up to another 2 providers if they accept.

Who will be eligible to receive the extended entitlement?

The extra funded hours will be made available to families where both parents (or the sole parent in a lone parent family):

  • are working and earn on average a weekly minimum amount equivalent to working 16 hours at either National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW)

  • have an income of less than £100,000 each per year

  • live in England (parents who are non-EEA nationals must have recourse to public funds to qualify)

You may still be eligible to apply if you or your partner:

  • are taking paid time off work, such as maternity leave, paternity leave or sick leave

  • are temporarily away from England for a period of up to 6 months, such as on military duty


You can also apply if either you or your partner are employed or self-employed and one of you gets one or more of the following benefits:

  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance

  • Carer's Allowance

  • Incapacity Benefit or long-term Incapacity Benefit

  • Severe Disablement Allowance

  • National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work

  • you've been assessed as having limited capability for work for Universal Credit purposes

Why is it different to 15 hours and what is the means testing?

The first 15 hours (or 11 hours in our case*) is a universal right to free childcare it doesn't matter how much you earn, your child will get their first 11 hours of childcare a week for free.

Mean doesn't mean MEAN! There are a few basic eligibility requirements which you can check yourselves and get a code for us to enter into our Surrey funding portal.

* not applicable to St Barnabas, 15 hours term-time

Why do I need to get my own code for eligibilty with my National Insurance number, why do I need to check it every term.

You must get your code from the government website as shown above as this is linked to your own personal earnings so we cannot obtain this for you.


It is really important that you have this code and send it to us well before your invoice is raised as we may not be able to claim the funding and therefore you will be charged the full amount - NOTE: It is unlikely that we will be able to refund any money since our funding may not be available.

You need to obtain your code at the start of every "term" this is a local authority funding term.

When do I need to get my code?

You need to get your code now!

Here are the funding terms

1 September – 31 December - You need to get your code to us well before 31 August

1 January – 31 March - You need to get your code to us well before 21st December

1 April – 31 August - You need to get your code to us well before  31st March

Why do you offer 22 hours funding instead of 30 hours?

The government's 30 hours childcare is the equivalent to school terms, however, The Butterfly Patch is open 51 weeks of the year so therefore we offer 22 hours.

* not applicable to St Barnabas, 30 hours term-time

What is your 30 hours admission policy?

Subject to availability we have the following admissions policy:

  1. Priority is given to existing children needing additional sessions

  2. Priority is given to siblings

  3. First come first serve​

  4. Waiting list

Why do we have minimum sessions on 30 hours funded children?

Unfortunately not all nurseries can offer 30 hours funding, so the demand for it is very high, since the government designed to offer working families a lower cost of childcare, as such we believe it fair to offer this only to families whose parents work full-time which is why we offer this with a minimum of 4 full day sessions a week.


We still offer 15 hours (11 hours*) with only a 3-day minimum session requirement and we offer FEET (free education entitlement for two-year-olds) with no minimum session requirements at all.

* not applicable to St Barnabas, 15 hours term-time

We can't do the minimum sessions, are there any other options?

Here at The Butterfly Patch, we try to be as flexible as possible so we can make allowances case-by-case basis such as using your additional 11 hours on Monday or Friday afternoons* - subject to availability of staff and room ratios.


* not applicable to St Barnabas

We are now eligible to 30 hours, we would like to increase our days, can we do this?

Yes, of course. However, please note that you will be subject to minimum session requirements and subject to availability at the nursery due to room capacities and staff ratios.

We are now eligible to receive 30 hours funding, my little one attends 3 days a week, do I only have to pay for one day?

We have a minimum number of sessions for 30 hours at 4 full days a week, subject to availability you will need to increase your days which will leave you just 2 days a week to pay for.

Why do we only charge for food, consumables and art supplies for funded days?

Our standard fees include breakfast, lunch, dinner*, nappies, creams, art supplied and consumables.


The government pays only for childcare, it does not make allowance for lunches and consumables, as such we have chosen to keep costs low (see your nurseries fees page)


* not applicable to St Barnabas,

Can we supply our own lunch?

No. We cannot accept lunches from home due to allergy contamination, additional preparatory requirement and fairness when children eat together.


We cater for a very wide variety of dietary requirements - please speak to your child's key worker or nursery manager.

What happens if we are no longer eligible for 30 hours?

If you fall out of eligibility for the 30 hours free childcare you will be required to pay nursery fees in full. 


You can reduce your little one(s) sessions, however, as per the terms and conditions, you will need to give a full months notice to do so and therefore will still be required to pay nursery fee's in full.


If it your responsibility to keep us updated on this.


There is a grace period available from HMRC for the funding so if you fall out of funding during a "funding term" you will be funded until the start of the next funding term. For example, you fall out of funding on 5th January your little one will be funded until the end of the funding term on 31st of March.

My child has just turned 3 yesterday, can I get my free childcare?

In most cases, no. 


Eligibility for free childcare starts the "term" after your little one's birthday. This is due to local authority funding of schools even though we are open all year.


For example, if your child's birthday is 13th January, they will not be eligible for funding until the Summer funding term from 31st March.​

We didn't get our eligiibility code in time, why have I been sent a second invoice?

It is your responsibility to get your eligibility code and provide it to us in good time. If you did not provide it we will not have received the funding and therefore you will be charged.

This is the way the government administer the 30 hours and out of our control.

Can I keep my little one with you for 11 hours, then put them in another pre-school for the next 11?

Yes, however, please remember our minimum sessions still apply unless you're an existing customer trying to increase your days where we do not have the capacity to help.


Please note that sharing your hours is your responsibility if for any reason we are unable to collect funding for your little ones care we reserve the right to bill you in full. We may charge an administrative fee of £100 per year for covering the administration in claiming for the funding. 

If funding is refused by the local authority for any reason we will invoice you in full.

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