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15 hours childcare funding for three- and four-year-olds (universal)

All children are entitled to the universal 15 hours free childcare from the term following their third birthday.

When 15 hour entitlement begins
Child's birthday (third birthday) Entitlement begins
1 January to 31 March Summer term (from 1 April)
1 April to 31 August Autumn term (from 1 September)
1 September to 31 December Spring term (from 1 January)

All maintained nursery schools, most day nurseries and pre-schools and some childminders offer funded childcare places.

Your entitlement

  • 570 hours per year
  • maximum of 15 hours per week over 38 weeks per year (term time)
  • some providers can offer fewer hours per week but for more weeks of the year

How to apply

To apply for a place please contact your chosen childcare provider. The funding will be paid directly to them.

To find a childcare provider in your area please contact the Family Information Service.

For more help or information contact the Early Years Entitlements Team via

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