Applying for childcare
We know that applying for childcare can be stressful for families and that the information that is available to help with this can be confusing. In this section we will provide some basic information on things that you should consider when you need to apply for childcare.
Childcare costs shown on this page are correct as of September 2019. However, charges by individual services may change at any time. We recommend discussing exact costs with a childcare service during the application process.
Finding a childcare service
Here are two free resources that could help you find childcare for your child if you live in the Glasgow City Council area.
Glasgow Family Information Service (GFIS). GFIS allows you search for the kind of childcare service you need based on location. You can enter a postcode and search for services close to this. You can also download and print off your search results. GFIS also holds some information on applying for childcare and other important subjects such as when your child will be eligible for funded Early Learning and Childcare.
Care Inspectorate. The Care Inspectorate is responsible for making sure that any registered childcare service is of a suitable standard. On their website you can search for registered services by postcode. You can also find reports they have written about a service based on an inspection. This could provide some reassurance that your child will be well looked after.
Different kinds of childcare
Most families use childcare when children are aged 0-12, although some services can take children who are older. In this section we have described some of the things you might want to consider about a few different kinds of childcare.
We know that for parents who are returning to work, education or training, finding a childcare place for a baby or young toddler is very important. However, it is common for these places to be harder to find and there are less places than for older children.
For children aged 0-2, it is best to put in an application to the service you would like your child to go to as soon as possible. If you are applying to a nursery run by Glasgow City Council you will be asked to provide your first, second and third choice of nursery. We would suggest using the map search on GFIS to help you find services that would be in a location near to your home or place of work etc.
It may be easier to get a place in a nursery that is run by a not-for profit organisation or by a private business. The application process for each of these services may be slightly different. It is likely that you will need to visit the nursery in person to complete an application form, although some may allow you to apply online. Although you may find it easier to get a place at one of these services, it should be noted that they often cost more than council-run nurseries. More information on the cost of childcare in the East End of Glasgow can be found in our fact sheet, which you can download here.
There are more places available for children aged 3-5 than there are for those aged 2 and under. However, there is still a big demand for these places and it is always a good idea to put an application in to a service as soon as possible.
If you are applying to a nursery run by Glasgow City Council you will be asked to provide your first, second and third choice of nursery. We would suggest using the map search on GFIS to help you identify services that would be in a location near to your home or place of work etc.
It may be easier to get a place in a nursery that is run by a not-for profit organisation or by a private business. The application process for each of these services may be slightly different. It is likely that you will need to visit the nursery in person to complete an application form, although some may allow you to apply online. Although you may find it easier to get a place at one of these services, it should be noted that they often cost more than council-run nurseries. More information on the cost of childcare in the East End of Glasgow can be found in our fact sheet, which you can download here. You can also find out if a not-for-profit or private nursery is able to offer funded ELC places by searching for the nursery on GFIS.
All 3 and 4-year olds, along with some 2-year olds, are eligible for 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare. This is sometimes called ‘free childcare’, but there can be some charges for lunches and snacks. For more information on this, and details of when children become eligible for this in Glasgow please read our information on funded childcare below.
We know that childcare for after school and during school holidays is important, especially for parents or carers who are working or attending college or university. There are services available, mostly for children between 5 and 12 years old, across the East End of Glasgow, but we know that it can often be hard to get a place in some of these. We are currently working to expand the number of places available for out of school care in the Parkhead area in particular. We are working with a number of providers to discuss where else there is the possibility to offer more spaces.
Although each service will have slightly different procedures, you will usually need to visit the service and complete an application form in person. Out of school cares usually offer different kinds of places depending on when you need to use them. Some examples of the kinds of places offered are:
All-year round. When a child attends during the school term and during school holidays. Services usually offer a discount if you have this kind of place.
Term-time only. When a child only attends during the school term. This can be useful if parents or carers have a job that is also linked to the school term. This means you would only pay for childcare at the times of year when you need it. This is usually slightly more expensive than an all-year round place.
Holiday cover. When a child attends only during school holiday periods. This is useful if a parent or carer is normally able to collect a child from school but is busy during the day. This means you would only need to pay for childcare for some shorter periods when you need it. This is usually more expensive than any other kind of out of school care place.
Out of school care services collect children from school at 3pm, although each service usually only picks up from a certain number of schools. School staff will often be able to give you the contact details of any out of school care who is providing a pick-up service for that school.
The Scottish Out of School Care Network is one of the CHANGE project’s key partners. You can find out more about out of school care and the benefits of using this kind of childcare service on their website here.
All children aged 3 and 4, along with some 2 year olds are eligible for 600 hours of funded childcare. If you live in Glasgow and your annual household income is less than £45,000 then your child may receive 900 hours of funded childcare. This can be provided by a Glasgow City Council nursery or by a nursery that is run by a private or not-for-profit organisation that has a partnership agreement with the council. When your child is eligible to receive this funding depends on their date of birth and family circumstances.
Glasgow City Council’s Parent Pack 2019/20 contains detailed information on funded childcare and can be downloaded here.
If your child gets a funded place and is using a Glasgow City Council nursery for up to 600 hours per year (or 900 hours if you are eligible for this), then you will not need to pay any childcare fees. Many nurseries operated by Glasgow City Council are now offering as much as 1,140 hours of funded childcare per year. These nurseries are known as ‘early adopters’. For more details on this please click on the ‘Expansion of funded childcare’ tab above.
If your child is eligible for a funded place and is using a Glasgow City Council nursery for more than their funded hours, then you may have to pay some fees. Depending on your child’s age and some other circumstances, additional charges might apply for food or snacks.
The cost of your additional childcare fees will vary depending on your circumstances. The current discounted rate for Glasgow residents is £3.00 per hour, although there are further discounts available for certain family circumstances. This could be families with a low income, kinship carers or those who have more than one child attending a Glasgow City Council nursery.
Further details of charges and eligibility for funded childcare at a Glasgow City Council nursery are available in the Parent Pack 2019/20 here.
It is possible for your child to access their entitlement to funded childcare in a nursery that is not run by Glasgow City Council. Most private and non-profit nurseries have partnership agreements with the council that means they are able to provided funded places.
If you decide to apply for a place at a partnership nursery, you should ask about their charging policy for funded hours. Some nurseries will deduct your funded hours from your monthly bills, but in other you may need to pay the full amount and have your funded entitlement refunded at a later date.
You can find out if a nursery is able to provided funded places by searching for their profile on GFIS.
The Scottish Government plans to extend the number of funded hours available per year, from 600 per year to 1,140 in August 2020. This sometimes described as ’30 hours per week’, which is how it would work if a child was using a place for 38 weeks of the year in a pattern similar to school term-time. Some nurseries may use all-year round places to spread out the 1,140 hours over a longer period.
Glasgow City Council, along with other local authorities, is currently trying out different ways of delivering this expansion. This means that some of their nurseries are already providing 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare. These nurseries, known as ‘early adopters’, are helping to make sure that Glasgow City Council is ready to deliver the full roll-out of 1,140 hours in August 2020.
We know this can be confusing for families as some have told us they don’t understand why children at one nursery get more funded hours than those using another nursery when both are run by the council. We recommend asking a nursery how many funded hours they are able to offer at the earliest point of the application process.
What is covered in the news of this expansion can also be confusing and it is not always clear that is not yet fully in place. You can keep up to date with news on the expansion by following our Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also find some helpful information about pre-5 childcare on the Parent Club website here.
Childcare costs - what you might need to pay for nursery or out of school care
Families have told us they often find it hard to understand how much childcare will cost and what support is available to help to pay for it. This section contains some information on how much childcare can cost in the East End of Glasgow. You can also download a fact sheet using the button below.
Nursery and under 5 childcare costs
Glasgow City Council Nurseries
Glasgow City Council charges an hourly rate for childcare. This means that if you use a nursery for 3 hours per day, and your child isn’t eligible for funded childcare, that’s what you’ll be charged for. At the moment this is charged at £3.00 per hour for Glasgow residents.
To show you how much this might be:
If your child goes for 40 hours per week(5 days for 8 hours per day) this would cost: £120.00
If your child goes for 20 hours per week (5 days for 4 hours per day) this would cost: £60.00
Glasgow City Council offers discounted places for kinship carers and low income families. You should discuss this with the nursery when applying. These nurseries are in high demand and you may be placed on a waiting list.
Nurseries run by businesses or by charities can be easier to get a place but can be more expensive than council run services. All of the nurseries in the CHANGE area charge half-day, full-day and weekly rates.
To show you how much this might be:
If your child goes for 40-50 hours per week (5 days for 8-10 hours per day) you might pay: £170.00-£185.00
If your child goes for 20-25 hours per week (2.5 days or 5 half-days) you might pay: £88.50-£112.00
Some of these nurseries may ask you to pay a deposit or registration fee before you are able to take up a place. Discounts on charges may also be available if fees are paid on a monthly basis.
Out of school cares in Glasgow East charge a standard daily rate, although discounts are available if you use a service for the whole week. There can be differences in the cost depending on how often and when you need a place. Most services cost more on a weekly basis if you only use them during school holidays or during the school term. If you use a service all-year round then you may pay a little bit less each week.
Each service is able to collect children from school but this will only be from certain schools depending on the area covered by the out of school care.
If your child goes for 5 days per week after school (15 hours) and 5 full days (50 hours) during holidays you might pay: £61.00-£65.00
If your child goes for 2 days per week after school (6 hours) and 2 full days during school holidays (20 hours) you might pay: £28.00-£30.00
If your child goes for 5 days after school(15 hours per week) you might pay: £65.00-£75.00
If your child goes for 2 days after school (6 hours per week) you might pay: £29.00-£32.00
School holidays only
If your child goes for 5 full days (50 hours per week) you might pay: £85.00-£125.00
If your child goes for 2 full days (20 hours per week) hours per week you might pay: £34.00-£50.00
It is important to be aware that there may be other costs and charges in addition to your childcare fees. Some examples of these are:
- Registration fees and deposits: These usually need to be paid before you start using a service. Not every service has these.
- Toy funds/fundraising: Usually optional and money goes towards buying new resources for children.
- Food: Some services charge extra if lunches or snacks are provided for the child. In Glasgow City Council nurseries you will receive an invoice if you are eligible to pay for snacks and lunches.
- Transport: If you need to use public transport to travel to and from a childcare service you may need to factor in how much your tickets will cost.
When applying for a childcare place it is important to ask the service if any additional charges apply. Some of these may be optional.
Help with paying for childcare
Families have told us that they often find it hard to understand what support there is to help pay for childcare. This section contains some information on support you may be able to get with childcare costs. The information on this page is a general guide only. Please speak to a welfare advice service if you have any queries. Details for these can be found at the bottom of this page.
The Childcare Choices website has more information and links to help you work out what you may be entitled to. It is available at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk
Working Tax Credit
Working Tax Credit can meet up to 70% of your childcare costs to a maximum of £122.50 for one child or £210 for two or more.
You must be working a minimum of 16 hours per week if you’re claiming as single parent. If you claim as a couple then you usually you’ll need to work for a combined 24 hours per week, with one of you working at least 16 hours per week.
How much in Working Tax Credits you will receive will depend on the total household income and how much you are paying for registered childcare.
As of December 2018, Universal Credit will replace Working Tax Credit for families living in Glasgow East and who are making new claims or experiencing a change in circumstances.
Universal Credit can meet up to 85% of your childcare costs to a maximum of £646 per month for one child or £1,108 for two or more children.
Like Working Tax Credit, how much you receive will depend on your circumstances. While Working Tax Credit is paid weekly you can only receive Universal Credit monthly or twice per month. If you prefer payments twice per month you may need to request this from your local benefits office.
If you’re a working parent and you’re not able to get Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit then you may be able to access Tax-free Childcare. This is a scheme where the government makes a contribution to your childcare costs. To do this you need to make sure your childcare provider has signed up to the scheme and you’ll need to set up an online account at https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/tax-free-childcare
Tax-free childcare is available as long as children you claim for are under 12 and neither you or a partner expect to earn more than £100,000 this year.
If you’re able access Tax-free Childcare then the Government will top up every £8 you pay in to your account with an additional £2, up to a yearly maximum of £2,000 per child or £4,000 if your child has a disability. You can’t access Tax-free Childcare at the same time as Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.
Parents and carers at college or university
If you’re attending college or university and paying for childcare you may be able to have all or part of your childcare costs paid for you. Every higher and further education body has its own methods for applying for this help and some students may need to apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland, known as SAAS. If you think you’ll need to use childcare while at college or university you should discuss this with the student support or funding office as soon as you can.
Every child aged 3 and 4 is entitled to 600 hours per year of funded early learning and childcare. Usually this is delivered in a nursery setting, although some private and third sector nurseries may ask that you pay for some extra sessions to access these funded hours in their service.
Some 2 year olds are also able to access the funded hours depending on their circumstances. The Glasgow Family Information Service provides more information on how this works in Glasgow. Click here to access their information on when children become eligible for this.
This entitlement is increasing to 1,140 hours from August 2020. Some Glasgow City Council nurseries are offering these additional hours already.
Helpful contact information
GEMAP: Money advice service for North and East Glasgow
0141 773 5850 & www.gemap.co.uk
GEMAP can offer free and confidential advice in relation to benefits, including those that offer support to pay for childcare.
Citizens Advice Bureaux Parkhead & Bridgeton Branches
Parkhead: 0141 554 0004 Bridgeton: 0141 554 0336
Both offer drop-in and appointment services to discuss benefit entitlements