The Care to Learn (C2L) scheme is available to help young parents, defined as those aged under 20, to continue in education after the birth of a child. The scheme provides funding towards childcare whilst the young parent is engaged in a study programme and is not able to provide care for their child. C2L can also help with travel costs involved in taking the child to the childcare provider. During the 2020/2021 academic year, payments totalling over £5 million were made through the scheme.
Learner Support funds childcare for students aged 19 and over in further education. Learning providers decide how much a student receives, depending on their scheme and the individual circumstances of the student.
30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare are entitlements for working parents of three and four-year-olds. These aim to help working parents with the costs of childcare so they are able to take up paid work or work additional hours. The Childcare Bill policy statement, published in December 2015, is clear that students are not eligible for 30 hours free childcare. However, parents who undertake paid work in addition to their studies and meet the income requirements will be eligible for additional hours.
To qualify for 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare, students do not have to physically work 16 hours a week. However, they do need to earn the equivalent of a weekly minimum of 16 hours at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage. Currently, this is just over £7,400 a year.
Parents undertaking vocational training remain entitled to the universal 15 hour free entitlement for three and four-year-olds. They may also be eligible for 15 hours free early education for disadvantaged two-year-olds. More information on the eligibility criteria can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-2-year-olds.
Further information on the full range of childcare support available can be found at: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/. Constituents can also access the government’s childcare calculator, available here: https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator.