The Childcare Offer For Wales

What is the Childcare Offer?

Under the Childcare Offer for Wales, you could claim up to 30 hours of early education and childcare a week, for up to 48 weeks of the year. This government-funded childcare scheme aims to lessen the burden of childcare costs so that you can spend the money you’ve saved on the things that matter most to your family.

Who is eligible for the Offer?

To be eligible for the Offer a parent must:

  • Live in Wales;
  • Have a child aged 3 or 4 years
  • Both parents /co-habiting couples in a two-parent family, or the sole parent in a lone parent family, must be either working or in education or training
  • Meet one of the following definitions of a working parent or a parent in education or training


parent includes guardians, step-parents, and live-in partners within the child’s household – all of whom will need to meet the eligibility criteria in order for that child to be able to take up the Offer.

working parent can be a parent who is either employed or self-employed. This includes those who are on Apprenticeships, zero hours contracts and those who are newly self-employed. Parents who are employed or self- employed but are on statutory leave for example, maternity leave. By minimum earnings criteria we mean that they must earn, on average, the equivalent of at least 16 hours per week at the relevant minimum wage applicable to them.  Earnings must not exceed £100,000 per annum per parent.

parent in education or training can be a parent who is either:

  • enrolled on a Higher Education (HE) undergraduate or postgraduate course that is at least 10 weeks in length. This includes courses delivered via distance learning. OR,
  • enrolled on a course that is at least 10 weeks in length and which is delivered at a Further Education (FE) Institution. This includes courses delivered via distance learning

A parent in education and training should provide evidence of formal enrolment on a relevant HE or FE course. Where a parent has applied and been offered a place on a relevant HE or FE course, but has not yet been able to enrol, they would need to provide evidence of a formal offer of a course place. A parent in education or training who meets the eligibility criteria would be able to access the Offer from the point at which their course commences.

In both cases this evidence should indicate: –

  • the start date of the course; and
  • the end date of the course and/or the length of the course in weeks; and
  • the name of the institution delivering the course

Foster carers, kinship carers and parents on adoption leave may also be eligible. Check your eligibility here:

Exceptions to eligibility:

Families in the following situations will still be eligible to access the Offer where:

  • Parents (or sole parent in a single parent family) are temporarily away from the workplace or have suspended their studies either because of sickness or because of parental leave. This includes maternity leave, statutory shared parental paid leave, and adoption leave.
  • One parent meets the eligibility criteria, and the other parent is in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • Incapacity benefit;
    • Carers allowance;
    • Severe disablement allowance;
    • Long term incapacity benefit;
    • Employment and support allowance;
    • National insurance credits on the grounds of incapacity for work or limited capability for work; or
    • Universal Credit where the individual has been assessed as having limited capability for work. 
    • Newly self-employed parents
    • Kinship carers; family and friends carers who have taken responsibility for a child or step child who is not their own because the child has no parents, or has parents who are unable to care for the child; it is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority because of concerns in relation to the child’s welfare.
    • Two parent households where one parent is working or is in education or training and the other has retired, having reached state pension age, may be eligible for the Childcare Offer if the retired parent was in receipt of one or more of the qualifying benefits before reaching state pension age.

Single parents and families where both parents are in receipt of the above benefits will not be able to access the Offer.

Where parents have separated

If custody is not shared equally:

  • The parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the Offer if the eligibility criteria is met

If custody is shared equally:

  • One parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the Offer
  • Only one parent will be eligible to apply for that child.

Will I have to pay for anything?

The Offer funds a maximum of 30 hours of early education and childcare in Wales per week for up to 48 weeks of the year. The funding from the government is for the education and care the professionals within the setting provide. It does not include food, transport or off-site activities that incur an extra charge and providers will be able to charge you for these.

The cost of transport will depend on where you live and how far they have to travel. Providers should not charge more than £9 per day for food or £5.75 for half a day (including lunch). Any hours attended outside of the funding will be payable by yourselves.

Will it affect my benefits?

Any funding from the Offer towards your childcare costs could affect other benefits you get.

Universal Credit

You cannot use the childcare costs part of Universal Credit for hours of childcare funded by the Offer. You can, however claim Universal Credit childcare costs for any additional childcare you need to pay for. This can be for either your 3 or 4 year old or any other child in your household.

If you get the childcare part of Universal Credit you need to report any changes in your family or work life to DWP on GOV.UK.

Tax Credits

You can still receive Tax Credits at the same time as receiving the Offer.

Tax Credits are worked out based on how much you earn and an estimate of your childcare costs. Receiving the Offer may lead to an increase in your income. For example if you can work more hours, or a reduction in your childcare costs. This means that you may receive less tax credits.

If you get Tax Credits you need to report any changes in your family or work life to HMRC on GOV.UK. This includes funding from the Offer to help pay for childcare costs.

Tax-Free Childcare

You can use Tax-Free Childcare and still receive the Offer for any additional hours of childcare you need.

If you get Tax-Free Childcare you need to reconfirm your details every 3 months.

You may be able to use Tax-Free Childcare to pay for extra costs such as food, transport and retainer fees.

You cannot use Tax-Free Childcare if you receive Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

Can I use more than one childcare provider?

Yes, you can use up to TWO registered childcare settings per day in addition to their early education setting in any given day during term time. You can use only use two registered childcare settings during school holidays.

How will the offer work outside of term time?

The Offer will cover up to 48 weeks per year, this includes 9 weeks of school holidays. During 9 weeks of these school holidays parents can apply up to 30 hours of funded childcare.

During an academic school year parents could be entitled to 39 weeks of early education and funded childcare. However, parents can only access funded childcare for 9 out of the 13 school holiday weeks. Therefore, parents could be responsible for fees outstanding during, both, term time and school holidays.

Parents can choose which holiday periods they would like to use, however holiday weeks are limited to 3 weeks per term. Parents are advised to speak to their childcare provider to ensure they know how many hours they are claiming during some holiday periods.

When can I apply?

Applicants are able to apply up to 90 days before the start of their eligible term. During the nine weeks of holiday entitlement, the full 30 hours is available under the childcare offer only.

Children turning 3 between 1 January and 31 March will be eligible to begin the Childcare Offer from the Summer term. 

Children turning 3 between 1 April and 31 August will be eligible to begin the Childcare Offer from the Autumn term.

 Children turning 3 between 1 September and 31 December will be eligible to begin the Childcare Offer from the Spring term.

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How do I apply?

Information for children starting early education in 2024

Eligible parents whose children will be accessing an early education place from January 2024 can apply for the Offer through the national digital system at now. This is a bilingual, online service that can be accessed via a laptop, mobile phone or tablet. You will need to create a Government Gateway account to start your application.

To help you get prepared for your application, you will need:

  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of household income or enrolment on a higher or further education course
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your employment address with postcode
  • Household partner’s employment address with postcode
  • Average weekly earnings for you and your household partner
  • Gross annual salary for you and your household partner

Eligible parents choosing a school-based nursery should have completed an admissions form and returned to the school of their choice (deadline for applications was in July 2023). Eligible parents can then apply for the Offer online using the national digital service based on when your child turns 3.

Eligible parents choosing a private childcare setting that is approved to receive early education funding will need to complete an Early Years 1 Form (please contact the setting directly) and apply for the Offer online using the national digital service based on when your child turns 3. Please email if you would like a list of all approved childcare settings.

In order to complete the application you will need to submit copies of:

  • Child’s birth certificate or Passport
  • Proof of address, this could be a utility bill or council tax bill
  • Last three months wage slips. (If part of a couple you must each provide your last three months’ wage slips, or self-employed earnings evidence. However, if one of you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you will need to provide evidence of this).2

How long does the application process take?

If you have submitted an application, you can typically expect acknowledgement of your application within 10 working days.

Please note that funding for the Offer will not begin until a start date has been confirmed and the application process has been completed. Funding will not be back dated.


Please visit our Facebook page for updates about the Offer.

For general inquiries about the Childcare Offer call Torfaen Family Information Service Freephone 0800 0196 330 or email

For inquiries regarding your application, please call the Childcare Offer for Wales National Helpline number 03000 628 628.

Follow us on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram for live updates on the Offer.