Free early education and childcare for three and four year olds

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What is free early education and childcare?

The government funds up to 570 hours of free childcare per year for all 3 and 4 year olds until they go to full-time school. This works out as 15 hours a week if your child takes up the childcare during term time, or you could choose to take fewer hours over more weeks in the year. This is worth over £3,000 per year.

All three and four year olds are able to take a place the term after their birthday:

Child’s 3rd birthday is between: When your child can take their place

1 January to 31 March

The beginning of Summer term on or after 1 April

1 April to 31 August

The beginning of Autumn term on or after 1 September

1 September to 31 December

The beginning of Spring term on or after 1 January

Is it really free?

Yes. The childcare setting claims the money from the council for these hours so you don’t have to pay for them. You can also choose to pay for extra hours at many childcare settings.

Where can my child take up a place?

Places are available across the District at nursery schools and many primary schools, pre-schools, nurseries and childminders. If you would like to find a childcare setting, please use our simple Childcare Finder.

Why would I want my child to take up a place?

Research shows that good quality childcare from an early age makes a real difference to how well a child does in the future. It will give your child the chance to make new friends, begin to get ready for school with new activities and improve their language skills. It will also free up your time for training, hobbies, a break, a part-time job, more hours at work or reduce your childcare bill.

30 hours childcare

You may have heard a lot about the 30 hours childcare but what is it?

The Government calls this entitlement 30 hours extended childcare. It is a Government scheme to provide childcare support for children aged 3 and 4 to help working parents from September 17. A child is eligible the term after their 3rd birthday.

Early Years Pupil Premium

If you or your partner claims out-of-work benefits, your childcare provider/school can claim up to £300 of additional funding for their free early education. This money will help provide activities and new equipment to benefit your child.

Check your eligibility for the Early Years Pupil Premium now

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Contact details

Families Information Service

Telephone helpline : 01274 437503
Polish/Slovak/Czech Helpline : 01274 434905
Urdu/Punjabi Helpline : 01274 431252
Mobile : Text 'Childcare' to 07781472076 and we will call you back within 5 working days
Email :

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