The Childcare Offer Wales
School holiday entitlement
During the school holidays, if you are eligible for the Childcare Offer you will be entitled to 30 hours a week of childcare for up to 9 weeks per year.
Holiday provision will be allocated at the beginning of each term the child is eligible for the offer. You will be allocated 3 weeks of holiday provision per term. Unused holiday weeks can be carried over from one term to the next and from one academic year to the next, providing both the parent and child remain eligible for the Offer.
Where a child is offered a full-time education place earlier than the September after their fourth birthday, that child is still eligible to receive 30 hours per week of holiday childcare provision, up until the September after their fourth birthday.
Please ensure you communicate with your childcare provider(s) when you would like to use your 9 weeks of holiday entitlement. Your provider will then claim for the chosen holiday weeks.
Providers should not specify to parents which of the 13 weeks are designated holiday weeks under the Offer. This is intended to give parents flexibility in terms of how they access their 9 weeks holiday provision.
You are able to view how many holiday weeks have been claimed by your childcare setting on your dashboard.
There are 4 weeks in the year that are not funded by the Offer. And these can only be taken during school holidays. If you have a term time only Agreement with your setting it is likely you will not have to fund any weeks yourself, however if you have a holiday Agreement with your setting, 4 weeks of these will need to be funded by you. You will be able to keep track of these weeks claims the provider submits weekly. The provider will claim 0 for these weeks which will mean that these are the weeks you will be require to fully fund. As the childcare setting claims the holiday weeks funding, the balance of remaining holiday weeks will reduce. This allows you to keep track of how many holiday weeks are remaining for you.
Effect on benefits
The Childcare Offer funding may affect other benefits you get, including:
- Universal Credit
- Tax Credits
- Tax-Free Childcare
Find out more about the effect on benefits of the Childcare Offer for Wales
How and when can I apply?
One lead parent needs to complete the online application, even if you have shared custody of the child.
An application can be completed up to 60 days before your child(ren) become eligible (the term after your child turns three).
Before you start, you need to know your:
- 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
You will also need to upload images of documents to apply for the Childcare Offer for Wales, for example proof of:
- age of child(ren)
- enrolment on a higher or further education course
Before you apply, check which documents you will need to upload images of.
Step by Step:
Step 1: Submit an application through a Government Gateway account:
If you already have a Government Gateway account then you can apply using your existing login details.
For help on how to create a Government Gateway account
Step 2: On submission of the parent application, a unique reference number is generated and displayed on screen. This will also be emailed to you. Please keep this safe as you will need it for all correspondence with your local authority.
Your application will be reviewed by the relevant local authority within 10 working days.
Step 3: When the local authority has reviewed your application, you will receive an email to say an update has been made to your Childcare Offer for Wales account and that you should sign into your Childcare Offer for Wales account with your Government Gateway ID and password to check. All notifications will be displayed on your dashboard.
Step 4: Once your application is approved you need to create an agreement with your childcare setting(s). To ensure your childcare is funded from your chosen date, you must create and submit your Agreement online before the first Monday of funded childcare.
Please note, you must discuss the number of hours to be used with the childcare setting prior to completion of the online agreement.
For help on how to create or amend an agreement with your childcare setting
Step 5: Once you have successfully submitted your agreement request to your childcare setting, the provider(s) will need to either accept or reject this request for funding. Your setting must confirm the Agreement by the Thursday of the first week at the very latest.
When a setting accepts your agreement request, an email notification will be sent to you to notify you that there have been changes on your system and to please sign in. You will be presented with your dashboard where you will see further details. On approval of an agreement request, you will see the status of APPROVED in your child’s agreement summary. You can view or cancel agreements from here.
Registering your Childcare Setting
New digital service
Payments for children who start receiving Childcare Offer funded hours from January 2023 must be claimed for using the new digital service (through Government Gateway).
If you are already offering the Childcare Offer you still need to sign up to the new digital service.
Parents will not be able to choose you as their childcare setting if you have not registered.
For more information on how to register, visit:Providers get help with the Childcare Offer for Wales
Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds: policy guidance for providers
First, check whether your question is answered in the guidance for parents
If you need more help contact us:
Childcare Offer for Wales helpline
Telephone: 03000 628 628
Rydym yn croesawu galwadau yn Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.
The helpline is open:
- Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm
- Friday 9am to 4:30pm
The Childcare Offer for Wales: help with childcare costs for eligible parents of 3 to 4 year olds
Do you need help with childcare costs? 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.
The Offer has already helped parents from all over Wales to return to work, increase their hours or work more flexibly. If you’re looking for a job, or thinking about going back into education or training, but are worried about childcare costs, this support could make all the difference.
Whatever the Offer means for you and your family, don’t miss out on your share of this childcare funding.
Who can apply? Am I eligible
To be eligible for the Childcare Offer, each parent must:
- Live in Wales
- Have a child aged 3 to 4 years old (The Offer will begin from the term following your child's third birthday until the term following their fourth birthday when they enter full-time education)
- Earn less than £100,000 per year
You must also meet one of the following criteria:
- be employed and earn at least, on average, the equivalent to working 16 hours a week at the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage
- be on Statutory Pay and Leave (Sick, Maternity, Paternity, Parental Bereavement and Adoption Leave)
- be enrolled on either an undergraduate, postgraduate or further education course that is at least 10 weeks in length
If you have a partner who lives with you, they must also meet one of these earnings or education criteria.
Foster carers and kinship carers (relative or friend who is not a child’s parent) may be eligible.
Before applying check if you're eligible for the Childcare Offer for Wales.
Parents can take up the childcare offer at any point during this time period, so long as they are eligible to do so. Parents should be able to access the offer from whichever point they wish during that term, providing their child was eligible from the beginning of that term, or earlier. This includes parents who move into the county or gain employment.
What’s included in the Offer? How many hours am I eligible for under the Offer?
The Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer for Wales means that many parents of 3 to 4 year olds can receive help with childcare costs.
This means 30 hours of early education and childcare in Wales for eligible parents. The 30 hours is made up of a minimum of 10 hours of early education a week and a maximum of 20 hours a week of childcare.
The Offer is available for 48 weeks of the year, meaning that it can help you with childcare costs for some of the school holidays.
Parents and guardians can apply for childcare and early education for up to 30 hours a week.
30 hours is made up of:
- at least 10 hours of early education a week
- up to 20 hours a week of childcare
The amount of childcare funded hours depends on the number of hours of early education your child attends a week.
All children are entitled to early education (formerly known as Foundation Phase Nursery) from the term after their third birthday. All local authorities provide a minimum of 10 hours per week of early education, this could be in a:
- local school
- day nursery
- Cylch Meithrin
During term time, this early education will be part of the Offer’s 30 hours.
During the school holidays when there is no early education the Offer provides 30 hours a week of childcare for up to 9 weeks of the year.
Schools in Pembrokeshire offer a variety of different hours and sessions for part time early education for 3 – 4 year olds. This varies from 10 hours per week to 15 hours per week.
Please note: If you intend to access the early education element of the Offer, you need to apply directly to your local authority before you begin to complete the Childcare Offer for Wales agreement on the digital platform.
This application is only for the childcare element of the Childcare Offer (up to 20 hours). Further details on how to apply for your child’s early education place in Pembrokeshire.
If you have had that education place confirmed then have those details to hand when creating an agreement with your provider. You will need to know the town and postcode of the education setting.
The number of hours of funded childcare will depend on the number of hours of early education per week your child is receiving. No combined total should exceed 30 hours.
- If your child receives 10 hours of early education per week - You are eligible for a maximum of 20 hours of funded childcare through the Childcare Offer.
- If your child receives 15 hours of early education per week - You are eligible for a maximum of 15 hours of funded childcare through the Childcare Offer.
Please note: You cannot swap education hours for childcare hours, or childcare hours for education hours. You can pay for additional hours of childcare yourself based on a private contract between you and your childcare provider.
If your child is eligible for full-time education in your local authority:
- you will not be eligible for the Childcare Offer during term time
- you may still be eligible for the Childcare Offer during school holidays, if they are aged 3 or 4.
Choosing a childcare setting
You can apply before choosing a childcare setting.
If your application is approved, you will need to make a formal agreement with your setting. You will need to discuss arrangements with them before making the formal agreement.
To be eligible for the Childcare Offer for Wales, check your childcare provider is registered:
- if the childcare setting is based in Wales, check a childcare setting in Wales is registered on Care Inspectorate Wales
- on the Childcare Offer for Wales digital service (ask the provider)
Eligible childcare includes registered:
- day care providers
- Cylch Meithrin (Welsh language playgroups)
The Pembrokeshire Family Information Service will be able to help you find a registered provider that offers the service that meets your needs when accessing your funded hours.
Contact the Pembrokeshire Family Information Service (FIS) on 01437 770014 or e-mail email@example.com
Charges for food, transport and activities
The Childcare Offer funding 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 providers have to travel for school pick up etc.
Providers should not charge more than £9 per day for food or £5.75 for half a day (including lunch).
Please contact your chosen childcare setting(s) to discuss additional costs further.