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Free childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds

If you have a 3 or 4 year old who is not yet going to school they can get free childcare and education at an Ofsted registered private day nursery, pre-school playgroup or childminder.

All 3 and 4 year olds, regardless of the parents’ immigration status, are entitled to up to 15 hours free education each week for 38 weeks from the term after their third birthday.

Some childcare providers (e.g. day nurseries) may ‘stretch’ the 15 hours across the full year resulting in fewer hours offered per week over more weeks of the year (e.g. 11 hours each week for 51 weeks).

What isn't covered?

Please make sure you are aware of any additional charges before your child attends your chosen childcare provider.

The 15 hours free childcare offer is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these additions.

However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 15 hour place and must be offered alternative options. If you choose to pay for these, it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider.