Childcare Funding

Free 15 hours for three and four year olds

All children are entitled to receive up to 15 hours per week over at least 38 weeks (if used in term time) from the term after their third birthday as part of the Government's free entitlement funding.

Where can I claim my funded place?

You can claim your free funding from a wide range of Ofsted registered providers including:

  • childminders
  • day nurseries
  • nursery classes within a school
  • nursery schools
  • pre-school playgroups

All of these providers follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

When and how to apply

Families can apply through their chosen childcare provider for a free early education and childcare placement for the term starting after your child's third birthday. Times and days of attendance will depend on the childcare provider's availability and free entitlement offer.

You should not be charged for any part of the placement up to a maximum of 15 hours per week over 38 weeks (term time only). If you want additional hours you would have to request this from your childcare provider and pay for these.

Please use the dates below as a guide for when your child is eligible:

If your child's birthday is between 1 April and 31 August, you qualify for funding from the autumn term starting in September.

If your child's birthday is between 1 September and 31 December, you qualify for funding from the spring term starting in January.

If your child's birthday is between 1 January and 31 March, you qualify for funding from the summer term starting in April.

Search for a provider

You can use the childcare search on the Family Services Directory to find a childcare provider who offers funding in your area or contact the Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000.

More about the funding

If your child attends a state-maintained nursery class or school, this is their funded part-time early education place. This means that you can't get funding for any hours they spend in a private or independent nursery or childminder during the same term. Please note if taking up a nursery place in a school this does not guarantee you a reception place. Please see School Admissions page for details on how to apply for a reception place.

The free entitlement funding is paid directly to your childcare provider. To claim funding the childare provider will request that you complete a parent declaration form prior to them being able to claim any funding from the local authority.

If you decide to remove your child after the headcount date in the term (please contact us for this term's date) you will not be able to claim funding in another provider for the rest of the term. If you decide to remove your child before headcount date you will be able to receive funding at another provider.

If you are purchasing additional childcare that are outside of a free entitlement place, a notice period may apply should you wish to remove your child. Please check with your provider for further information

Contact us

For more information contact the Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000.

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