Free Entitlement to childcare is provided by the Government for all 3 and 4 year olds. It allows access to free, good quality, flexible early education or childcare.

From the term after their third birthday every child is entitled to 15 hours free at a childcare setting for 38 weeks of the year.

When will my child be eligible?
3rd birthday between Becomes eligible from
1 April and 31 August Start of Autumn Term
1 September and 31 December Start of Spring Term
1 January and 31 March Start of Summer Term

The childcare provider must be rated ‘Satisfactory', 'Good' or 'Outstanding' in their most recent Ofsted report to be authorised to offer free childcare.

  Find an Ofsted report Opens in a new window

Please note that not all providers will be able to offer the full 15 hour, 38 week entitlement.

Frequently asked questions

The hours/sessions you can book and how flexible these are will depend on your chosen childcare provider. You will normally be asked to commit to the same weekly pattern of hours for each term and changes to these will need to be agreed with them.

Although we encourage providers to offer the free hours in a flexible manner, you will need to take the hours within their available sessions.

Your childcare provider may offer you the choice of attending during term times only (15 hours over 38 weeks of the year) or throughout the year (11 hours per week over 51 weeks).