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Funding for 2 to 4 year olds

All three and four year olds are entitled to claim free early years education for 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.

Your child becomes eligible for free early years education on the dates set out below.

A child born on or between

Will become eligible
for a free place

1st April
to
31st August

Beginning of the Autumn Term
in September after
their 3rd birthday

1st September
to
31st December

Beginning of the Spring Term
in January after
their 3rd birthday

1st January
to
31st March

Beginning of the Summer Term
in April after
their 3rd birthday

Here are the answers to just some of the most frequently asked questions we have from parents on a regular basis about the free funding for 3 and 4 year olds.

When Can My Child Start Free Nursery Education?

Your child becomes eligible for a free Government Early Years Education Funded place from the start of the school term after their third birthday. This means that most three year olds will be able to start a free nursery place in the January, April or September following their third birthday.

Your childs birthday must be:

  • On or between 1st January and 31st March to start free nursery education in the Summer Term in April
  • On or between 1st April and 31st August to start free nursery education in the Autumn Term in September
  • On or between 1st September and 31st December to start free nursery education in the Spring Term in January

These are the cut off dates. If your childs birthday is for example on the 1st or 2nd January and the term starts on the 5th January I am afraid their funding will not start until the Summer Term after Easter because they have passed the cut off date of 31st December. It does not go by the date the term starts but by the cut off dates above.

How Many Funded Hours Can My Child Have?

Your child is entitled to a maximum of 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. To be included in the headcount allocation your child needs to be registered with us on headcount day which falls within the first two or three weeks of term.

How do I Get Free Nursery Education?

You do not apply for the funding directly yourself. Each term we claim on your behalf for the number of sessions your child will be attending and the local authority will then pay the funding directly to us.

The funding is not paid directly to you. Your fees will be reduced to reflect the number of free hours you wish your child to receive.

Remember you may also be entitled to the Working Families Tax Credit to help you with the cost of childcare fees not covered by the Early Years Education Funding.

The Two Year Olds Entitlement

Disadvantaged two year olds are also entitled to 15 hours per week of free nursery education. The free places for two-year olds are usually provided based on the child’s needs. Your situation would need to be assessed, usually by a health visitor, social worker or similar, in order to decide whether your child would benefit from a place and delivered in a way that supports effective transition to the statutory entitlement at the age of three. (Further information should be available from your health visitor.

If you are entitled to receive one or more of the following then your child will be eligible for a free place.

Income Support

Income Based Jobseekers Allowance

An income-related employment and support allowance

Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit

Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit

Stretching the Free Entitlement

It is now possible to have a "stretched" offer over more than 38 weeks. You can ‘stretch’ your child’s free provision by accessing fewer hours across more weeks of the year. While 38 weeks will remain the minimum entitlement, the opportunity to access the free entitlement in this way may help you to budget and balance work or other commitments consistently across the year.

We do offer this flexibility. If you wanted to stretch your hours over the whole year then your entitlement would be 47.5 hours per month. The maximum number of hours during the year is 570 hours (38 weeks x 15 hours).

 

Childcare Funding for 2 to 4 year olds
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