Three and four year old early education (universal 15 hours)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.  I have a three year old son can I get money to help with his nursery funding?

A.  All families with three and four year old children are eligible for 15 hours free early education. To apply, contact your local childcare provider.

Q.  Can I get any extra help with childcare costs?

A.  You could be eligible for tax credits, tax free childcare or universal credits (please see detail below)

Age three and four – 15 hours free childcare

  • For all families in England, with three and four year old children.
  • 15 hours of free childcare (570 hours per year) for 38 weeks per year. Some providers may ‘stretch’ the hours over 52 weeks, thereby using fewer hours per week.
  • To apply, contact your local childcare provider.  
  • Call 01908 254522

Find local early years providers

A list of local Early Years providers can be found on the Ofsted website.

The Local Offer provides information, support and signposting for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from birth to 25 years, their parents and carers, practitioners and professionals.

When can my child start?

Funding is available from the term after your child’s third birthday, see below:

  • 1 January to 31 March - start summer term on or after 1 April
  • 1 April to 31 August - start autumn term on or after 1 September
  • 1 September to 31 December - start spring term on or after the 1 January

HM government offer additional help with childcare costs for parents

Tax Free Childcare

  • For working families (with children under 12  or under 17 if disabled), including the self-employed, in the UK
  • For every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year

Tax Credits for Childcare

  • For working families, in the UK (with children under 16 or under 17 if disabled)
  • 70% of childcare costs, up to a cap
  • If you are unable to make a new claim for Tax Credits, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit instead

Universal Credit for Childcare

  • For working families (with children under 17) claiming Universal Credit, in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • 85% of eligible childcare costs, up to a cap