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Children's services

Upcoming changes to childcare costs in Walsall explained

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Eligible working families will receive more financial support with childcare from 1 April 2024.

Childcare choices logo

The changes are part of a national government childcare expansion programme called Childcare Choices, first announced in the 2023 Spring Budget.

What are the changes?

  • From April 2024, eligible working parents in England with children aged 2 will have access to 15 hours per week (570 hours per year) childcare.    

Am I eligible?

The Childcare Choices website has a Childcare Calculator which parents and carers can use to find out what offers they are entitled to.

The eligibility criteria for the new free hours are based on the income of the parents and the age of the child:

  • Parents must be working and earning at least the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage or living wage.    
  • Parents must not have an individual income of more than £100,000 per year.    
  • Children must be under the age of 5 and not yet in school.

I’m a childcare provider, what does this mean for me and my business?

The Childcare Choices website can provide you with information and guidance such as: 

  • How to sign up as a provider
  • How to identify a Tax-Free childcare payment
  • How you will be paid
  • Operational guidance for providers

  To manage demand of the expansion programme, Walsall is one of twenty local authorities involved in a new trial to drive recruitment in the early years sector.

New recruits will receive a £1,000 cash payment to join or return to the early years sector, in an attempt to attract workers into a career in childcare.

The trial aims to increase capacity, tackle unemployment, and offer more childcare places. The trial will give new-starters and returners a tax-free cash payment shortly after they take up post.

Are there more changes after April 2024?

  • Yes, from September 2024, the 15 hours per week (570 hours per year) childcare offer will be expanded to eligible working parents in England with children between 9 months and 3 years old.    
  • And from September 2025, eligible working parents in England with children between 9 months up to school age, will have access to 30 hours per week (1,140 hours per year) childcare.

Support is also expanding for primary-school aged children. From September 2024, parents are expected to see an expansion in the availability of childcare in their local area before and after school, between 8am and 6pm, also known as ‘wraparound care’. This includes childcare such as breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and play schemes.

Where can I find out more information?

The Childcare Choices website outlines information for parents/carers and providers about the changes. This includes what support is available for different age groups of children, for working families and for families who currently receive additional government support.

You can access the website here

Information is also available on the Walsall Family Information Service website, which include Frequently Asked Questions sections:

Childcare Choices for parents

Childcare Choices for providers

Providers can also email for any additional support.


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