Free entitlement policy

2 year old funding

Forty percent of 2 year olds are eligible for free entitlement the term after they become 2 years of age. To qualify, the child must be of eligible age and the parent(s) in receipt of one or more of the following income-based benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit and have an annual net earned income equivalent to and not exceeding £15,400*
  • Tax Credits (and you have an annual gross household income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit). 

You can apply online by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk and searching “2 year free entitlement” or phoning 01243 777807.

3 & 4 year old Funding

Funding is available from after the term your child turns 3 for 15 hours a week for 42 weeks a year.

Funding can be used across 2 settings.

Proof of child’s birth date will need to be provided either by passport or birth certificate.

Caterpillar nursery will inform parents/carers when their child becomes eligible for free entitlement and will provide a parent declaration form to complete to secure the funding.

Parent/Carers who wish to claim the free entitlement should register with Caterpillar nursery no later than the head count day.

Where a child moves from Caterpillar nursery to another provider within West Sussex after head count, Caterpillar nursery will ensure that the balance of the unused funding will be transferred to the new provider on their request provided a minimum of 4 weeks notice has been given.

30 hours funding

You can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:

  • in work – or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave
  • each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week – this is £125.28 if you’re over 25

This earnings limit does not apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.

You’re not eligible if

  • your child does not usually live with you
  • the child is your foster child
  • either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000
  • you’re from outside the EEA and your UK residence card says you cannot access public funds

You can get 30 hours free childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit, tax credits, childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare.

For more information on Free Entitlement contact the Family Information Service (FIS) at 01243 777807 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/freechildcare.