3 & 4 Year Old Funding...

All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks or stretched for the equivalent number of hours across more weeks per year. This is a universal entitlement for all children and applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday).

Some families may be eligible for extended funding (an extra 15 hours - taking you to 30 hours per week)

You can apply for the extended free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds if:

  • You and your partner (or the sole parent in a lone parent family), are in work with each parents earning, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW) and not more than £100,000 or more for at least one parent per household per year.
  • This includes self-employed parents and those parents on zero contracted hours who meet the criteria

The government intends that the additional entitlement should be available in the following circumstances: 

  • Both parents are employed but on or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental leave or adoption leave
  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay 
  • One parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring
  • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits



  • Use the Childcare Calculator to see if you could qualify for the extended free entitlement
  • Select "keep me updated" in the Childcare Calculator to ensure you receive extended free entitlement updates
  • You will receive an email informing you when you can sign up to 30 hours

Next steps...

Once you've successfully applied for the extended free entitlement....

  • You will receive a letter confirming your free entitlement from HM government informing you of your eligibility code for each child
  • You need to take your eligibility code along with your National Insurance Number and your child's DOB to your nursery manager
  • Sign the parent declaration form given to you by your nursery manager


The funded hours can only be used with a registered childcare provider. There are some rules for using the entitlement...

  • Government has limited session times between 6am - 8pm
  • The government has restricted funded hours to a maximum of 10 funded hours per day to protect children's wellbeing and support a positive early education experience. 
  • The funded hours can be split between a maximum of two childcare providers (for example a pre-school and a nursery)
  • Funded hours can be stretched throughout the year (up to 52 weeks) and not just restricted to 38 weeks

Speak to your nursery manager to understand nursery opening hours and how this entitlement is being implemented at your setting.


Inspirational quote of the month...

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