All 3 and 4 year old children are entitled to receive 15 hours per week of early education and childcare support during term time. This is from the term after their 3rd birthday. This is known as a child’s ‘Universal’ Entitlement. There is no application required for the Universal Entitlement.
Eligible working families may be entitled to 30 hours per week early education and childcare support for 3 and 4 year old children. To apply for the working families entitlement and to find out about other help available with childcare costs, please visit Childcare Choices.
Where can your child access their early education entitlement?
In a school nursery
All 3 and 4 year old children attending a school nursery class will receive the universal 15 hours per week of early education and childcare support term time only. Some schools may offer additional hours or they may work in partnership with private childcare providers to enable eligible working families to access their 30 hours entitlement. You should check with the school nursery as to the hours they can offer.
Within private, voluntary, independent registered childcare providers (such as Nurseries, Pre-Schools and Playgroups) and registered childminders
You can search for registered childcare providers that offer the universal 15 hours per week of early education and childcare or the working families extended entitlement of 30 hours per week by using the Childcare Search. You can then contact childcare providers individually to discuss your needs and find out if they can offer your child a place. Childcare providers who open for the whole year may stretch the funded hours across the whole year, to support working families.
Claiming early education entitlements
Early Education Entitlements are paid directly to schools and childcare providers. However, there may be charges for additional hours and services you access. When you apply for a place, the school, childcare provider or childminder should always give information about the actual hours and weeks your child can access with their entitlement. The childcare provider should provide information on their admissions policy and also give details of any additional hours or services and the charges which will be applied. This is to allow you to make an informed decision about taking up your child’s place with them.
How will my child benefit from their early education?
All early years settings follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The EYFS sets out the standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.
There are seven areas of learning and development . All of the areas are important and connected. The prime areas underpin children’s learning and development. The prime areas are:
- Communication and language (speaking, listening and understanding)
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
As your child grows, the prime areas will help them develop skills in the following four specific sreas of learning:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
The learning experiences that practitioners plan will be suited to your child’s unique needs and interests. Your child will take part in a wide range of playful learning activities both indoors and outside including:
- Sharing stories, songs and rhymes
- Talking with friends
- Playing in groups and taking turns
- Moving, exercising and being active
- Finding out, creating, building, making
- Counting rhymes and games
- Exploring sounds and dancing
- Pretending and imaginative play