Free Childcare Entitlement for two to four-year-olds
The benefits of a good early education
Children like to explore the world around them, play with other children and have fun. Good early years education from a young age can help boost child development. Early education 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.
The free childcare entitlements can give you more time to take up a college course or return to work, as well as give your child the opportunity to learn, play with friends, experience new activities and get ready for school.
To find out about all the government support/scheme available to parents to help meet the cost of childcare can be found at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk
There are 3 types of free childcare available for children aged 2 to 4 years, each with different eligibility criteria.
Free childcare for two-year-olds
Free universal childcare for three and four-year-olds
Free extended childcare for three and four-year-olds (30 hours)
What is the free entitlement?
15 hours for two-year-olds
Eligible families are able to apply for up to 15 hours per week of free childcare for their two-year-old children. This can give you more time to take up a college course or return to work, as well as give your child the opportunity to learn, play with friends, experience new activities and get ready for school.
15 hours for three and four-year-olds
All children are entitled to receive up to 15 hours per week over 38 weeks (term time) from the term after their third birthday as part of the Government's early education funding scheme.
Further information can be found on the on the universal free childcare for three and four-year-olds page
30 hours for three and four-year-olds
Children in working families may be eligible for an additional 570 hours a year known as 30 hours entitlement for children aged 3&4 year-olds.
Eligibility is established by HMRC, therefore parents wishing to take up this free childcare entitlement must apply on the central government's childcare service.
Parents must apply at least a term before they wish to take up a 30 hours place, eligible parents will receive an 11 digit code that must be validated with your chosen childcare provider prior to starting a free childcare place. Please note, parents are required to reconfirm their eligibility ever 3 months to continue to receive a 30-hour place.
In addition, parents may apply for Tax-free childcare at the same time as the extended entitlement.
Where you can take up your free childcare entitlement.
Parent’s can take up their free childcare entitlement at any childcare provider that is Ofsted registered and registered with the local authority on the directory of Early years providers to offer free places
The types of providers include:
School nursery classes
Information on all the childcare provider is available on the Family Information Service Directory
To take your entitlement in another borough, please contact that borough’s Family Information Service.
For more information contact the Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000