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 (additional 15 hours) 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 following term date which will be either 1 April, 1 September or 1 January. 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 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
Early years funding is a national scheme administered by local authorities in their areas. To find out more about the legal framework and principles go to Early Years Funding Code of Practice for Local Authorities.