Financial Support

This page contains information which offers financial guidance to parents/carers during the coronavirus pandemic. As you can appreciate, this is a fast-changing situation and we will be updating this page as new information becomes available. The material on this page is pulled from a variety of sources and should be used as guidance only.

Early Years

Funding for the government’s early years entitlements will continue during any periods of nursery, preschool or childminder closures, or where children cannot attend due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The Chancellor has confirmed the Government will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the free entitlements for two, three and four-year-olds, providing reassurance for early years settings in light of coronavirus.

Childcare provision

Schools are closing from Friday 20th March for all but children of keyworkers for example those parents/carers who work in: health and social care; education and childcare; key public services; local and national government etc – more details can be found by clicking here.

During this closure period you are entitled by law to take time off work to look after a dependent during an unforeseen event. However it is up to your employer whether they pay you during this time. There is not an outlined set limit on the amount of time you can take off, this is currently under review by the Government. If you do need to take long periods off work you could utilize holiday time or take unpaid parental leave (available to those employed with the same company in excess of a year). You should consult with your employer during this time to see what flexible working may be available for you.

If you are self-employed you will not be able to claim extra benefits when taking time off to care for your children. These are only available if you are using a registered childcare provider to look after your children.

Employment support allowance can be claimed from the first day of sickness, in the event where households are ill or self-isolating. This cannot just be claimed because school is closed and time off is required to care for children. However it is worth checking that you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to, this could include seeing if you can claim universal credit.

Students in receipt of free school meals

The government announced a voucher scheme on Wednesday, as details of this scheme are released, we will update this page with details of how to access vouchers.


Food banks are designed to provide short-term, emergency support with food. Their aim is to relieve the immediate pressure by providing food, while also providing additional support to help people. Click here to find your nearest foodbank.

Useful contacts

If you have a query about coronavirus in regards to schools, please call the Department for Education’s hotline on 0800 046 8687, Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 6:00pm.

Sources/ useful references