Help with Childcare Costs

You can get help to pay for childcare if it is provided by a:  

  • registered childminder, nanny, play scheme, nursery or club 

  • childminder or nanny with a registered childminder agency or childcare agency 

  • registered school 

  • home care worker working for a registered home care agency 

This is known as ‘approved childcare’. The rules about how childcare providers become approved are different depending on where you live. You can check if a childcare provider is approved or search for one through Ofsted (external link).  

Sign in to your childcare account 

If you already get Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare:  

Childcare at school

You can only get help to pay for care that is outside school hours, for example after school clubs or breakfast clubs. You cannot get help to pay for:

  • your child’s compulsory education 

  • private lessons during school time (for example, private music lessons during school hours). 

If your child has not started primary school, you can get help to pay for childcare provided by a school. This includes nursery school fees. 

Childcare provided by relatives 

If you live in England or Scotland 

You can only get help to pay for childcare provided by a relative (for example a grandparent) if they are a registered childminder and care for your child outside your home.

You cannot get help for childcare provided by your partner or paid for by the free early education and childcare scheme. If you live in England and get 30 hours free childcare, you can pay the childcare provider using Universal Credit, tax credits or childcare vouchers.

Foster carers 

Childcare provided by a foster carer in England only counts if they are registered as a childcare provider (external link)