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15 hours free childcare - 3 and 4 year old children

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  • For all families in England with 3 and 4-year-old children
  • 15 hours of free childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 570 hours per year, that you can use flexibly with one or more childcare provider
  • Some providers will allow you  to 'stretch' the hours over 52 weeks, using fewer hours per week

Am I eligible?

15 hours of free childcare is available for all families in England. 

Where can I use it?

It's available at participating:

  • Full day care (e.g. nurseries)
  • Schools
  • Childminders
  • Sessional providers (e.g. playgroups)
  • Sure Start Children's Centres
  • After school clubs

From 1 January, 1 April or 1 September following your child's 3rd birthday.

What isn't covered?

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

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