Three and four year old funding
15 hours free childcare funding for all
All 3 and 4 year old children can get 15 hours a week free childcare. In total you can get 570 hours a year, 15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year.
You do not need to apply for this, just speak to your childcare provider. If you don’t already use childcare you can check out local providers at the bottom of this page.
When can you get this free childcare?
The term after your child’s third birthday, up until they enter reception or they are Statutory school age (the term after they are five). This is known as the Universal offer of Flexible Free Entitlement.
How does it work?
- A Child born on or between 1 April and 31 August will become eligible for a free place 1 September following their third birthday
- A Child born on or between 1 September and 31 December will become eligible for a free place 1 January following their third birthday
- A Child born on or between 1 January and 31 March will become eligible for a free place 1 April following their third birthday
Your entitlement to free childcare does not guarantee you a place with your chosen childcare provider. A provider may choose not to offer the full 38 weeks of funding. It is also up to them what 2, 3, 4 year old funding they do offer.
The funding can be used for places between 6am and 8pm for no longer than 10 hours per day. You need to check with the provider what spaces are available and what times they offer childcare.
Extra 15 hours free childcare
You could also qualify for an extra 15 hours for your three or four year old if:
- You (and your partner if you have one) must be working 16 hours per week or earning the equivalent at National Minimum Wage or Living Wage (around £125 a week at National Living Wage)
- You or your partner expect to earn less than £100,000
If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you’re unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.
Apply for the extra 15 hours
To get the extra free 15 hours childcare you need to request it. The decision on whether you can get this is made by HMRC.
If you have any queries please ring the freephone number 0300 143 4097. you can apply online through the Childcare Choices website. If you are successful you will need to renew this every three months.
If you are successful
Once you have received your 11 digit code you can choose for your child to receive their early years provision from a registered provider. For more details about these providers please visit the Families First Information Service online Directory.
You can also contact the Families First Information Service on 01472 326292 option 1, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook.
Renew your extra 15 hours free childcare
To keep your 30 hours free childcare place you will need to renew your eligibility every 3 months. To apply for this visit the Childcare Choices website.