Help with your childcare fees

Everyone has to pay the fees in order to have their children looked after. However, there are a number of places you can go in order to get some help with the costs.

We will accept a wide variety of tax efficient schemes which involve the full involvement and backing of your employer. We are also registered for the Nursery Education Grant, available to every 3 year old from the term after their 3rd birthday which can be offset against your fees. There are other means tested benefits which you may be eligible for. These include Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits. For more information visit the HM Revenue and Customs Tax credit website here.

If you are a student:

Are you on a further education course?
(Further education courses are GCSEs, GCEs, NVQ level 1, 2 and 3, BTEC National Diploma/Certificate.)

You can apply to Care To Learn for help with your childcare costs.

Are you eligible for Care to Learn?
You can usually claim Care to Learn funding if you are living and learning in England, and can answer “yes” to the following five questions.

If you’re not sure, call the Learner Support helpline on

0800 121 8989 Opening hours 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Question one: are you under 20 years old?
To get Care to Learn, you must be under 20 years old on the day your course or learning programme begins.

As long as you begin the course before you are 20, Care to Learn will contribute towards your childcare costs until that course has finished.

The sources of help with childcare costs are different if you’re aged 20 or over.

Question two: are you caring for your own child or children?
You can claim Care to Learn either as the child’s father or mother, as long as:

    • the other parent is unable to provide childcare (because, for example, they are working or absent)
    • the other parent is not claiming the childcare element of Tax Credit

If you have more than one child, you can get help for each of them.

Question three: do you meet the residency conditions?
To make a new claim for Care to Learn, you must:

    • live in England, and
    • be either a British citizen or a national of another country within the European Economic Area (EEA)

If you don’t meet these conditions, you may still be able to get Care to Learn. For advice, call the Learner Support Service on 0800 121 8989 – or check the guidance notes that come with the application form.

Question four: is your learning eligible?
Care to Learn is only available for learning in England that has some public funding.

Your options include:

    • courses in schools, sixth forms, sixth form colleges, other colleges and learning providers, including Foundation Learning
    • courses in your community – for example, at Children’s Centres

Apprentices who receive a wage can’t receive Care to Learn but can receive help with childcare costs through the Tax Credit system. See ‘Childcare benefits, tax credits and other help for working parents’ to find out more.

University and higher education courses are not covered by Care to Learn

Question five: is your childcare registered?
To get Care to Learn, you must use childcare provision that is registered with Ofsted. Registration means that the childcare must meet certain safety and quality standards.

What Care to Learn pays for
Care to Learn will pay up to £160 per child per week to help with the cost of:

    • childcare while you’re learning, on work placements linked to your course or programme of study or doing private study
    • any registration fees (up to £80) or deposit (up to £250)  charged by the childcare provider
    • a childcare ‘taster’ (up to five days) aimed at helping your child settle in before your learning starts
    • fees you need to pay during summer holidays to keep the childcare place open
    • additional travel costs you have to pay so you can take your child from home to the childcare provider

The childcare provider will receive payments direct from Care to Learn. Funding to help with travel costs will be paid to your learning or training provider regularly and they will reimburse you or arrange travel for you.

If your circumstances change

You will need to let the Learner Support Service know if your learning, childcare or personal details change while you are receiving Care to Learn.

For more information, see ‘How to apply for Care to Learn’ here

OR Are you aged 19 or over on the first day of your course?

You can apply to the Learner Support Fund for help with your childcare costs. You should call Learner Services in Westbrook building on 01274 433042.

Are you on a higher education course?

(Higher education courses are degree, HNC, HND courses and some Foundation Degrees.)

AND Are you on a full-time course?

You should apply for help with your childcare costs to your Local Education Authority at the same time that you apply for your Student Loan and Tuition Fee grant.

OR Are you on a part-time course?

If your Local Education Authority is paying your tuition fees and giving you a grant, you can apply to the Access to Learning Fund for help with your childcare costs. You should call Learner Services on 01274 433042


Each of the funds has a number of additional criteria that students have to meet. Please do not assume that your childcare costs will be paid until you are informed in writing that they will be.