Free Early Education

3 & 4 Year Old Free Childcare

All 3 and 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year. This is often taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year. Some 2-year-olds are also eligible.

You can start claiming after your child turns 3. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January

2 Year Old Free Childcare

Some 2-year-olds in England can also get free early education and childcare.

You must be getting one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Working Tax Credits and earn £16,190 a year or less

    Children are also entitled to a place if:

If your child is eligible, you can start claiming after they turn 2. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January