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30 hours’ free childcare (in England)

All part of the introduction of the UK-wide Tax-Free Childcare scheme is the free childcare scheme. The UK government has made available form FCC1, which is an application for parents if their child was born between 1 September 2012 and 31 March 2013 in preparation for the September 2017 term.

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It is only when you get to the contents of the form that you are advised that this is 30 hours’ free childcare for 38 weeks in England only. While Tax-Free Childcare is UK-wide, childcare is a devolved responsibility and things are different depending on which part of the UK you are in:


  • In Scotland, it’s called ‘Free learning and childcare’ and is 600 hours a year if the child is three or four – see
  • In Wales, it’s ‘Free early learning and childcare’ and 30 hours for 48 weeks if the child is under four, piloted in seven areas from September 2017 – see
  • In Northern Ireland, it’s called ‘Funded pre-school education’ and is different again – see


In fact, the only ones that are new are the schemes in England and Wales.


This all a bit like the Apprenticeship Levy, where there is a UK-wide levy that is used differently in each of the nations.

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