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Free Early Learning and Care for 3 and 4 year olds!

Did you know that all 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours a week of free early learning and care over 38 weeks? This amounts to 570 hours a year and is commonly known as 'the free entitlement'.

Image of little boy walking into pre-school

Free early learning and childcare is about learning through play. Children will learn through the Early Years Foundation Stage framework which aims to promote children's development, well being and interest in learning.

London Borough of Sutton providers who deliver free early learning meet the local authorities quality standards and sit on the pdf icon Directory of Early Years Providers and Childminders [133kb].

You have a choice as to when and where your 3 or 4 year old attends their free entitlement sessions (during term time) and you can choose between using a private day nursery, pre-school, school nursery class or independent school nursery. In many child care settings the 15 hours can be taken flexibly which means you can choose a nursery provider who offers sessions that more closely meets the needs of your family. Also, if you need to, you can take the 15 hours across two childcare settings.  

Children become eligible for the free entitlement from the term after their third birthday and up until the term after their fifth birthday. The following table shows when a child is eligible:

        Spring                Summer              Autumn
1st September - 31st December 

      1st January   

1st January - 31st March                 1st April                            
1st April - 31st August                     1st September  

For further information about nursery provision in the London Borough of Sutton and general enquiries about children's services, please call the Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000.