Childcare: Students

Department for Education written question – answered at on 7 March 2023.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155406 on Children: Day Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the 30 hours of free childcare a week to full-time postgraduate students.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is not currently planning to extend the 30 hours of free childcare a week. However, the department recognises the value of parents continuing in education and we provide a range of support for students in further or higher education to assist them with childcare.

All parents are eligible for the universal 15 hours of free early education, which is available to all three and four-year-olds, regardless of family circumstances.

Working parents of three and four-year-olds may be eligible for an additional 15 hours of free childcare if they earn the equivalent of 16 hours a week at national minimum or living wage and under £100,000 per year. This entitlement aims to help working parents with the costs of childcare, so they can take up paid work if they want to, or work additional hours. Students who participate in paid work in addition to their studies and meet the income requirements will be eligible for the additional hours.

Parents who meet these income criteria may also be able to receive support from Tax Free Childcare, which can be worth up to £2,000 per year for children aged 0-11, or up to £4,000 per year for disabled children until the age of 17.

In addition to the above, eligible students starting a postgraduate master’s degree can receive a postgraduate master’s loan of up to £11,836 for students starting their courses in the 2022/23 academic year. The loan is intended as a contribution to the cost of study, rather than to specifically cover tuition fees or livings costs.

Further information on the childcare offers available to parents can be found at: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

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