More working parents will soon be able to access 15 hours of free childcare per week in the new year.

It comes as applications open on January 2 for the first wave of the rollout of reforms expanding the amount of free childcare, the Department for Education said.

The childminder start-up grant begins at £600 for those who register with Ofsted and £1,200 for those who register with a childminder agency.

The government has also confirmed that a £400 million increase in funding for early years providers has also been confirmed for 2024-25.

More parents to get free childcare in England

During the March Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the reforms for England, allowing some families of children as young as nine months to claim 30 hours of free childcare a week.

From April next year, working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare.

This will be extended to working parents of all children older than nine months from September next year.

The Bolton News: More families will be able to access the service,More families will be able to access the service, (Image: PA)

From September 2025, working parents of children under five will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare per week.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “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.”

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

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Munira Wilson said the commitment “rings hollow” with Government funding for childcare services “a fraction of what’s needed” compared to the real cost of provision.

“How does this Conservative government expect to roll out expansion of childcare when there are not enough providers to go around?” she said.

“There is a huge crisis looming, with both nurseries and local councils warning of a collapse if the Government doesn’t come forward with proper funding.”