Universal entitlement to free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

All three and four-year-olds can get free early education or childcare for 15 hours a week during term time for (38 weeks per year) or spread the hours over the full year (570 hours in total).

You may also be interested in the extended entitlement (an additional 15 hours a week) for working parents. The Childcare Choices website offers a comparison guide for all the ways you could reduce your childcare costs.

When you can claim

Once your child turns three, you can start claiming from the beginning of the next funding period, ie - 1 April, 1 September or 1 January. For example, if your child turns three on 10 April, you will be able to claim from 1 September. Funding will stop when they reach compulsory school age - the term of their fifth birthday, or once a child has accepted and taken up a Reception place, even if only on a part-time basis. For further details, please visit gov.uk.  

How to claim

To claim, you will need to arrange a free early years place for your child with an eligible childcare provider. 

Choosing a childcare provider

You will need to choose an eligible childcare provider that has capacity to offer you a childcare place for the hours you need. Visit our looking for childcare  page where you can search for local provision and look at the types of childcare available.  

Frequently asked questions