Parents of toddlers will be able to apply for 15 hours of free childcare per week next year

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan says "no parent should have to choose between a career or a family".

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 30th November 2023

Working parents to toddlers will soon be eligible to apply for 15 hours of free childcare per week, the Government has confirmed.

As part of what the Government says is the “first step” in its “long-term plan to give working families a brighter future” – which was first hinted at all the way back in March of this year – it’s now been confirmed that, as of 2 January 2024, eligible working parents of two-year-olds will be able to register to access 15 hours free childcare per week from next April.

With thousands of parents set to benefit from the new scheme, Government ministers say the recommended time to register is between mid-January and the end of February next year.

Further increases to funding rates for childcare have also been confirmed this week, which apparently means that, in just 2024-25 alone, the Government will be investing over £400 million to deliver “a significant uplift to local authority hourly rates”.

This is said to be in a bid to “ensure enough [childcare] places are available”, wherever it is they’re needed around the country.


It’s claimed to be the “largest ever expansion of free childcare for working parents” in England’s history.

National average hourly rates paid by the Government will be £11.22 for under twos, £8.28 for two-year-olds, and £5.88 for three and four-year-olds from April 2024, it’s been confirmed.


Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the transformation of the current UK childcare system is “no easy task”, but the Government is “committed” to taking it on.

“Our fantastic childcare offer is going to start supporting eligible families in less than six months’ time, and I want to make sure that parents and providers are prepared,” she explained as the new scheme was announced.

“From April next year, eligible working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of government-funded childcare a week.


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“We’re making sure parents no longer have to choose between a career and a family, and doubling down on this Government’s commitment to getting more people into work and growing the economy.”

Featured Image – Bright Horizons