What is free early education and childcare?

All eligible two year olds are able to take a place the term after their birthday

Child’s 2nd birthday is between: 

1 January to 31 March you can claim the beginning of Summer term on or after 1 April 

1 April to 31 August you can claim the beginning of Autumn term on or after 1 September

1 September to 31 December you can claim the beginning of Spring term on or after 1 January 

The government will fund up to 570 hours of free childcare for each eligible child. This works out as 15 hours a week if your child take up the childcare during term time, or you could choose to take fewer hours over more weeks in the year.

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. It is also possible to combine the free hours with additional paid-for childcare to meet your working pattern or family commitments. Click here for our prices\

Is my child eligible for a free place?

If your child is two you are eligible if you are claiming any one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit with earnings from employment below £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit with earnings from employment are below £16,190
  • Disability Living Allowance (for the child not yourself).

Or if your child:

  • is a looked after child
  • has left care - a child who has left care through a child arrangement order (formerly known as special guardianship) or an adoption or residence order
  • has special educational needs, and/or disabilities – but only if he/she has a current SEN statement or an Education, Health and Care plan or receives Disability Living Allowance.


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