Free childcare and education for 3 and 4 year olds

A Government funded 3 and 4 year old place is available for all families in England.  All 3 and 4 year old children will receive;

  • 15 hours of free childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 570 hours per year, which you can use flexibly with one or more childcare provider
  • Some providers will allow you to ‘stretch’ the hours over 52 weeks, using fewer hours per week

Funded places can be accessed as below;

  • Children born in the period 1 January to 31 March: the start of term beginning on or following 1 April after the child’s birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 April to 31 August: the start of term beginning on or following 1 September after the child’s birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 September to 31 December: the start of term beginning on or following 1 January after the child’s birthday.

Children can start a funded place from the first day of term until the below headcount date;

  • Autumn census - first Thursday in October
  • Spring census - third Thursday in January
  • Summer census - third Thursday in May

If a child leaves a funded place before the headcount date or starts after the above headcount date, the provider may charge the family for the agreed funded hours.

Funded early education information for parents

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