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Reducing the costs of childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is a scheme set up by HMRC. Parents are able to open an online account, which you can pay into to cover the cost of childcare with a registered provider. This will be done through the Childcare Choices website.

You’ll be able to apply for all your children at the same time, when your youngest child becomes eligible. 

  • for working families, including the self-employed, in the UK
  • with children under 12 (or under 17 if disabled)
  • for every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child
  • parents of children who will be under four on 31 August, and parents of disabled children, can apply now.

You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

You (and your partner if you live with them) will usually need to either:

  • be working - it doesn’t matter how many hours you or your partner work
  • have a job offer.

You may also be able to claim:

You can apply for Working Tax Credit even if you’re on leave or about to start a new job.

There has been a change to the Student Finance payment process from the 2019/20 academic year.

As a student, you will need to open a Childcare Grant Payment Service account (CCGPS). The CCGPS is an online platform enabling parents to manage their Childcare Grant by authorising and sending payments to childcare providers electronically.

Paying your childcare provider:

  • You’ll be contacted each time your childcare provider sends a request for payment.
  • You just need to sign in, check that the amounts are correct, and approve it.
  • If you approve the costs submitted by your childcare provider, the payment will be taken from your Childcare Grant balance and paid directly to them.

Find out more about the Childcare Grant process

The Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs while you study and the costs go straight to the childcare provider. In Derby you may be entitled up to £160 per week You must be aged under 20 at the start of your course. The scheme is available for publicly-funded courses in England. This includes courses in:

  • schools
  • sixth-forms in schools
  • sixth-form colleges.

Care to Learn can help with the cost of:

  • your childcare, including deposit and registration fees
  • a childcare taster session for up to five days
  • keeping your childcare place over the summer holidays
  • taking your child to their childcare provider.

You can contact the Families Information Service for any specific queries should you not know what you are entitled to. You can find our contact details at the bottom of the page. You can also use the online calculator to find out what you can access.