Guide

Help paying for childcare

Last updated: 19 September 2017

Free early learning and childcare

You can get 600 hours of free early learning and childcare a year (around 16 hours a week in term time) if your child is 3 or 4 years old.

Children aged between 2 and 3 years old

You can also get free early learning and childcare if your child has turned 2 and you get one of these benefits:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Job Seeker's Allowance (income based)
  • any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit and your income is less than £16,105
  • both maximum CTC and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under £6,420
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit (from 1 August 2017, you can claim this if your income is less than £610 a month)

Free early learning and childcare is also available if your child is 2 or over and is, or has been since they turned 2:

  • looked after by a local council
  • the subject of a kinship care order
  • the subject of a guardianship order are eligible.
Once your child qualifies for early learning and childcare, they'll stay qualified. Even if you get a job, or their situation with a parent or carer changes.

How to claim your free early learning and childcare place

Visit your local council's website to find out how to claim your free early learning and childcare place.

You can also find out more about childcare on the Scottish Family Information Services' website.

Help paying for childcare
Free early learning and childcare