Closed petition Extend 30 hours free childcare to student midwives/nurses/paramedics

Most NHS midwifery, nursing and paramedic programmes are full-time courses running 46 weeks of the year. They are hard work and students play a vital role. However, students are not classed as workers, and are therefore not entitled to the 30 hours of free childcare available to working parents.

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I am working just as hard as I was when I was employed by my local police force 12 months ago and yet as I am now considered a student and not a worker I can no longer claim the 30 hours free childcare for my 3 year old. There are shortages of many NHS staff so I can’t understand why the Government does not make it easier for parents to study for these roles.

Equivalent training roles for police are apprentices. These are treated as workers, so can claim the 30 free hours. This isn't fair given the equal value of all emergency service staff.

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Government responded

This response was given on 21 October 2022

Whilst students are not eligible for 30 hours free childcare, we provide a range of support for high quality early education for all parents including those studying for healthcare qualifications.

30 hours free childcare is an entitlement for working parents of three- and four-year-olds. It aims to help with the costs of childcare so that parents can take up paid work if they want to or work additional hours. The Childcare Bill policy statement (, published in December 2015, is clear that students are not eligible for 30 hours free childcare. We recognise the value of parents continuing in education, however, and provide a range of support other than 30 hours for those in further or higher education.

Students are eligible for the universal 15 hours of free early education which is available to all three- and four-year olds regardless of family circumstances.

There are also forms of support provided by the government specifically for students, including those with children. More information on this help for students can be found here:

This support includes the Childcare Grant and Parents’ Learning Allowance. These schemes are available for full-time students with dependent children, including students on healthcare-related courses.

The Childcare Grant is available for parents in Higher Education undertaking a full-time undergraduate course and is paid to help with weekly childcare costs. The amount of childcare grant payable in 2022/23 will be based on 85% of actual childcare costs, subject to a maximum grant of £183.75 per week for one child only or £315.03 per week for two or more children.

The Parents’ Learning Allowance is for full-time undergraduate students with one or more dependent children. For the academic year 2022/23 students could receive up to £1,863 a year depending on household income.

For financial support in addition to help with childcare costs, since September 2020 all eligible nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students have received a non-repayable training grant of a minimum of £5,000 per academic year. Eligible students with child dependants can also access a further £2,000 per academic year.

The government appreciates the efforts of healthcare professionals in contributing to the NHS across the country. We are pleased that parents continue to see training, or retraining, into healthcare professions as an option for them.

Department for Education

Other parliamentary business

Childcare costs debated by MPs

On Tuesday 7 June, MPs debated the cost of childcare and children's education recovery. This was an Opposition Day debate on a motion determined by the Labour Party.

Watch the debate:

Read a transcript of the debate:

During the debate, MPs highlighted concerns about the affordability and availability of childcare, and the impact this has on parents' (especially mothers') ability to remain in employment.

MPs also discussed the Government's plans to help children at school catch up on their education following the disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic, support for the early years sector, and young people's mental health.

What are Opposition Days?

Opposition days are days allocated in the House of Commons for the discussion of subjects chosen by the opposition (non-government) parties.

Find out more about Opposition days:

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