3 and 4 Year Old Entitlement

The Free Entitlement (previously Nursery Education Funding) allows 3 and 4 year old children to access up to 15 hours of funded early education and childcare with a nursery, preschool or child-minder that is registered to offer funded places.



Key Points:

• Every eligible 3 and 4 year old is entitled to funded early education sessions of up to 15 hours, the term after their 3rd birthday:

Child’s Turns 3 between; Eligible From:
1st January – 31st March 1st April
1st April – 31st August 1st September
1st September – 31st December 1st January

You can access your child’s funded place at a number of private day nurseries, pre schools, child-minders and school nurseries.

Your child is entitled to up to 15 hours over 38 weeks of the year (subject to provider availability.)

Please Note

• All Free Entitlement sessions must be ‘free’ to parents at the point of delivery and there should be no conditions attached to a free place.

Any additional extras such as the below should be clearly presented to you and agreed prior to your child starting at the setting. It should be agreed in your contract and stated clearly on your invoice:

  • additional hours
  • lunches
  • additional activity sessions (yoga bunnies, football coaching)

• When signing a contract with a childcare provider please make yourself aware of the agreement you are signing. You will need to be aware of the notice period that you are agreeing to give the setting if you choose to remove your child. Failure to give adequate notice may result in you not being able to access your funding elsewhere until your notice period has ended.

• Please be aware that attending a school nursery does not guarantee your child a place in the school’s reception class.

How do I find the funded childcare place?

Find the Nursery, Pre School or Childminder you’d like to attend. You can find one here.

Call the childcare setting to organise a visit.

Agree with them that they have a FUNDED vacancy for your 3 or 4 year old and agree the placement.

If this is your first time finding childcare, use the guide below

Good questions to ask childminders

Good questions to ask group settings

I have a concern about my Free Entitlement.

If you have a concern in relation to your Free Entitlement please take a look at our Free Entitlement FAQ page and scroll to the bottom.