Children eligible for Early Education Funding are entitled to up to 15 hours of childcare per week up to a maximum number of hours per term. The 15 hours per week will be offered in a range of ways and the childcare setting will be able to advise you of the patterns they are able to offer.
If you are concerned you may not be getting your full entitlement from your private, voluntary or independent childcare provider or are being charged incorrectly please look at our frequently asked questions which you can take with you to your childcare provider to check they are providing the free entitlement correctly.
If you are still unhappy you can contact the council using the Corporate Complaints policy.
All children become eligible from the term following their third birthday. Children with birthdays between the following dates will become eligible in the following terms.
- a child whose birthday is between 01 April and 31 August can access their place from the following September term
- a child whose birthday is between 01 September and 31 December can access their place from the following January term
- a child whose birthday is between 01 January and 31 March can access their place from the following April term
Free places are available at:
- preschools or playgroups
- private day nurseries
- private or independent nursery schools
- nursery units in infant and primary school
You need to set a pattern of attendance for your funded hours for the term during headcount week which is usually the 3rd week of the funding term. Once this pattern is set you cannot increase your hours until the next term.
If you wish to move some or all of your funded hours to another childcare provider during the term, that is fine, as long as you give the relevant amount of notice to the original nursery and do not increase the total number of funded hours you are taking up.
For example: You cannot start the term with a pattern of 15hrs and then start another nursery mid-term to take up additional hours as this would be classed as increasing, but you can take up 15 hours at one provider and then move 5 of these hours to another provider during the term i.e. you continue to have 15 funded hours but move some of them to another provider.
The process for applying for a school nursery place has changed. Parents will now need to contact their chosen school directly to apply for a school nursery place. There should be information on each school website on how and when to apply as well as their admissions criteria and admissions policy. The school will be able to tell you what they can offer.
If you are not sure which schools are local to you please visit our schoolfinder page where you can search for schools closest to your postcode area including your catchment school.
If you are struggling to find a school nursery who can offer the care you require, the Family Information Service can support you to find an alternative private provider.
To find a childcare provider who can offer the early education funding please visit our Daycare or Childminders page. Alternatively please contact the Family Information Service on 0800 389 8667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more information on the 30 hours per week of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds please visit the Gov.UK website
Early Years Pupil Premium is additional funding for early years settings to improve the education they provide to 2 and 4 year olds