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Funded education for 3 and 4 year olds

Universal 15 funded hours for 3 and 4 year olds

All 3 year and 4 years olds are entitled to 15 hours of early education funding from the term after a child turns 3 years old. This can be taken as:

  • 15 hours of early education for 38 weeks (up to 570 hours per year),
  • Some providers will allow you to ‘stretch’ funding over more weeks per year but by using fewer hours per week. Check with your childcare provider about how they offer funded hours.

When could my child be eligible  ?

When a child turns 3 years old between:

  • 1 January - 31 March: funding can start from the summer term (from 1 April) 
     
  • 1 April - 31 August: funding can start from autumn term (from 1 September)

  • 1 September - 31 December: funding can start spring term after turning 3 years old (from 1 January)

How do you claim a funded place?

  • Contact your childcare provider.
  • They will submit a claim on your behalf.

 Additional Support

Some families could be eligible for some additional support if criteria are met:

Early Years Pupil Premium - families could receive some additional funding to support the education of their child.

Disability Access Fund - settings who have children who receive Disability Living Allowance could be eligible for some funding to make reasonable adjustments to the provision and improve access.


 

30 hours for working families

In addition to the universal 15 hours some families could be entitled to an extra 15 hours, this means parents could access:

  • up to 30 hours per week over 38 weeks (up to 1140 hours per year), or
  • Some providers may allow parents to ‘stretch’ funding over more weeks but using fewer hours per week Check with your childcare provider about how they offer funded hours.

Eligibility

Working parents (or lone parent) could be eligible if:

  • Each parent expects to earn (on average) at least £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage). 

  • If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.

You will not be eligible if:  

  • Either parent earns £100,000 a year. 

How to apply

parents can apply via the government website Childcare Choices who will check and confirm eligibility.

Successful applicants will be supplied a code by Childcare Choices which parents must present to their childcare provider.

Parents must reconfirm their eligibility with Childcare Choices every 3 months to remain eligible.

Start date

Children could receive funding from the term after turning 3 year olds and a parent has successfully applied and received an eligibility code, whichever is later. Funding could starts:

  • From 1 April - for applications made 1 January - 31 March 
  • From 1 September - for applications made between 1 April - 31 August
  • From 1 January - for applications made between 1 September - 31 December

Fosters Carers

An eligible child in foster care is entitled to the funding based on the following criteria:

  • The local authority is satisfied that a foster parent engaging in paid work (other than fostering) is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making, and
  • That in two foster parent families, both partners hold additional paid employment outside of their role as a foster carer.
  • A lone (foster) parent must have additional paid employment is also outside their role as a foster carer.

Foster carers must make their application with the aid of the social worker to the Early Education and Childcare Team , not to Childcare Choices.

Further information

    • childminders
    • day nurseries
    • preschools
    • school based early years provision
    • some after school clubs

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