If you’re provided with childcare by:
- Registered childminder, nanny or playscheme.
- Childminder/nanny working with a registered childcare agency or childminder agency
- Register for school
- Home care worker for registered agency
This is called ‘approved childcare.
The rules for how childcare providers are approved vary depending on where you live.
Check if your childcare provider has been approved.
- England via Ofsted
- Wales through Care Inspectorate Wales
- Scotland through the Scottish Care Inspectorate
- Northern Ireland via the early years team register
Register for your childcare account
Register to your childcare account if Tax-Free Childcare is available or you have 30 hours of childcare that is free.
For care outside of school hours, such as after-school clubs or breakfast clubs, you can’t get help.
It is impossible to get help paying for these:
- Your child’s compulsory education
- private lessons during school time (for example, private music lessons during school hours)
Relatives can provide childcare
If you are a resident of England or Scotland
Tax-Free Childcare is only available to pay for care provided by a relative (e.g. a grandparent), if they are registered childminders and provide childcare outside of your home.
For 30 hours of childcare provided by a relative (e.g., a grandparent), you cannot get free care.
Your partner cannot provide childcare assistance. This is not considered ‘approved childcare’.
Northern Ireland residents:
If you have the following conditions, you can only receive help to pay for childcare provided by a relative:
- They are in Northern Ireland’s childcare approval program
- They will take care of your child outside your home
- They care for at most one other child who is not yours
If you are a resident of Wales
If your relative is a registered childminder who cares for your child outside of your home, you can only receive help with childcare costs.