Free care for three & four year olds
Every child in England who is aged three or four is able to claim 570 hours of free early education or childcare each year.
This can be taken during term time only, which usually equates to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks a year.
Free childcare for two year olds
- Some children in England are eligible for free hours early years childcare and education when they are two years old.
- If you, as a parent, are currently claiming one of the following, then your two year old is entitled to the 15 free hours allowance:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit and have an annual income under £16,190
- the guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on
- Universal Credit
- There are also a number of criteria that apply to your child rather than to you as a parent.
- If any of the following apply, your child will be entitled to the free hours allowance for two year olds:
- they are looked after by their Local Authority
- they get Disability Living Allowance
- they have a current statement of Special Education Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
- they have left care under a Special Guardianship Order, Child Arrangements Order or Adoption Order
When can I claim my free hours?
The point at which you can begin to claim your free hours will depend on your child’s birthday. This is the case whether you are claiming free hours for your two, three or four year old.
- If your child was born in January, February or March, then you can claim from the beginning of the term that begins on or after 1 April.
- If your child was born from April to August, you will be able to claim from the beginning of the term that begins on or after 1 September.
- If your child was born from September to December, you will be able to claim from the beginning of the term that begins on or after 1 January.