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What childcare help can I get during lockdown?

Schools are currently closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus. However, for many parents and guardians, this means having to choose between home-schooling and working.

If you're struggling due to coronavirus, there is support available to help you during lockdown.

You can check your council's website for more information on when your child's school may reopen.

How will school closures affect my finances?

School closures may mean you have to take time off work to care for your children, reducing your income and increasing household bills. Here, we explain what support is available. 

It's natural to be stressed and worried at a time like this, but remember you're not alone. Lots of people are dealing with similar issues. Take a look at our guide for advice on handling debt stress and money worries

However, if you find you can't afford food or other essentials, don't wait to get help. Find out how to get urgent help with money.

What if I can't work without childcare during lockdown?

If you find it difficult to work from home due to lack of childcare, you could find support from a number of places to help you and your family through this difficult time:

  • Childcare bubble - if your child is 13 or under, you can form a childcare bubble with one other household for childcare
  • Support bubble - if you live by yourself or with children who were under 18 on 12 June 2020 you can form a support bubble with one other household
  • Out-of-school activities - if they are providing registered childcare or other childcare activities, these can allow parents to work, attend education or training, or provide respite for carers or parents
  • Nurseries - they are offering free childcare for eligible two, three and four year olds
  • Your employer - if you can't work from home while your children are there, ask your employer if they can make reductions to your hours or allow time off for dependents
  • The furlough scheme - this way you could be paid at least 80% of your normal monthly wage (up to £2,500)

It's important to know if furlough is the right choice for you, and that you understand the risks, your rights and entitlements.

Money worries?

Find out how we can help you.

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Do I get extra help if I'm a key worker?

If you're a key worker or look after vulnerable children, you can get help from your school:

  • Childcare for children of key workers - if you're a key worker, you will still be able to send your children to school so you can continue to work
  • Childcare for vulnerable children - schools will continue to care for vulnerable children who have a social worker, as well as children who are entitled to special needs support

What if reduced hours have affected my income?

If you struggle to afford childcare and household bills due to reduced income, there is help available, including information on how to deal with a reduced income due to coronavirus.

If you’re struggling financially it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the income you’re entitled to. Use our free online benefits calculator to find out if you could claim any extra help.

What if my child receives free school meals?

Schools are continuing to distribute free school meals for children of key workers in school. If your children are off school, free school meals can be claimed from your local authority.

Money worries?

Find out how we can help you. Get help now.