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Funded Entitlement for 3&4 Year Olds

All children aged 3 and 4 are eligible for up to 15 hours funded childcare across the week during term time and some 3 and 4 year olds are eligible to receive up to 30 hours funded childcare during term time. Read on for more information...

When can your child access a funded place?

Children will receive the funded provision (15 or 30 hours) from the term after their third birthday as follows:

A child who 3 in:

Can have their funded place from:

January February or March

The start of the summer term

April, May, June, July or August

The start of the autumn term

September, October, November or December

The start of the spring term


15 Hours Funded Entitlement (FE)

All three and four year old children are entitled to 15 hours of funded Early Years (EY) education and childcare per week, across 38 weeks of the year.

  • You can claim less than the 15 hours if you do not want to use the full amount
  • A maximum of 10 hours can be claimed in any one day
  • Your child can attend a maximum of two sites in a single day

You can choose to take this Funded Entitlement at any of the following registered ‘providers’:

  • Pre-school playgroup
  • Private day nursery
  • Childminder (who is registered to deliver the funded places)
  • Maintained nursery school
  • Nursery class in a primary or independent school.  
  • Out of Schools Clubs.

How can the 15 hours funded entitlement be taken?

The funded entitlement can be taken flexibly within the following limits:

  • Between 6am - 8pm
  • A maximum of 10 hours can be taken in one day
  • A maximum of two sites per day.

Stretched offer

The stretched offer is for children who ONLY take up their funded entitlement i.e. they do not access more than 570 hours childcare across the year and are not paying for additional hours. The stretched offer is not to be confused with spreading a parent’s bill over 12 equal monthly payments so they pay the same amount each month.

Children can access their funded early education place in one of three ways:

  • The standard “term time only” model : 15 hrs per week for 38 weeks per year (570 hrs per year).
  • The stretched offer models:
    • 51 week model:  up to 11 hrs per week across 51 weeks per year   (561 hrs per year)
    • 48 week model:  up to 11.75 hrs per week across 48 weeks per year (564 hours per year)
  • If a child accesses the stretched offer they will not be able to access the full 570 hours funded entitlement across the year. Parents must be made aware before they agree to a stretched offer that they will not receive their full entitlement.
  • A child can stretch the offer at 2 providers - ONLY IF BOTH PROVIDERS ARE OFFERING THE SAME PATTERN OF ATTENDANCE, ie 51 weeks or 48 weeks as unfortunately we cannot accommodate a mix of offers. The minimum amount to be claimed at either setting is 2.5 hours per week. 
  • For children who access more than the funded hours, providers can pro-rata the bill over a 12 month period so that parents pay an equal amount each month. This is NOT the same as “stretching the offer”.
  • Please contact your provider as not all can offer the stretched offer.

Additional charges

Some providers may charge for meals, snacks or optional extras as these may not always be included within the funded entitlement. If you take more than 15 hours per week or more than 38 weeks per year there will be a charge from the provider for these additional hours. Please check with your provider for full details of any additional charges.

How do I claim the Funded Entitlement?

  • You must let your provider know that you would like to claim the funded entitlement and how many hours you would like to claim each week.
  • Your provider will give you a ‘Parent Declaration Form’ for you to fill in, and they will claim funding on your behalf from the local authority for the funded entitlement.
  • Each term, providers have a deadline for claiming this funding. The local authority may not be able to fund a child who has not taken up a funded entitlement place by this date.
  • You will need to specify at which provider(s) you would like your child to take their funded entitlement place and how many hours you would like to claim at each provider.
  • Funding is for a minimum of half a term; if your child moves to another provider during a term then you need to inform the new provider as soon as possible, to see if there is a place available.You may not be able to claim the full entitlement if your child moves setting mid term.
  • Please note that if your child attends a place in a school nursery, reception class or nursery class, then the hours attended will be offset against the funded entitlement that your child is entitled to, so they may not be eligible for any additional funded entitlement.

Your provider will be able to give you more details on how to claim your funded entitlement place.

30 Hours funded childcare

Some 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to an additional 15 hours of Funded Entitlement.This is known as 30 HOURS FUNDED ENTITLEMENT

Children in reception class are not eligible for the entitlement.

Child will be funded from the following terms depending when the child turns 3 years old.

Child turns 3 between: 

Eligibility code issued in month:

Summer term

Autumn term

Spring term


April, May, June, July or August



Sept, October, November or December    


January, February or March    


April, May, June, July or August    √  


Sept, October, November or December      √


 January, February or March  √    


April, May, June, July or August    √  


Sept, October, November or December      √


 January, February or March  √  


Am I eligible and How do I apply for 30 hours funding?

  • Visit the Government's Childcare Choices website to find out if your child is eligible and to apply
  • If your child is eligible you will receive a code which must be given to your chosen childcare provider and entered on to the Parent Declaration Form before your child takes up their 30 hours place
  • You may receive an eligibility code before your child turns 3, but they can only start their 30 hours place in the term following their 3rd birthday or the term following the date when the eligibility code was issued (whichever is the later)

If you have any questions about eligibility for 30 hours please contact Childcare Choices helpline directly on 0300 123 4097.

30 hours - Additional Information

  • You do not need to actually work 16 hours per week, but your earnings must equal at least 16 hours work at minimum wage / national living wage. This equates to a minimum income requirement for a parent/carer over the age of 25 of £115.20 a week, or for 21-24 year olds of £107.20 a week.
  • A parent/carer will be eligible if they expect (on average) to earn this amount over the coming three months:
  • For example, for a parent/carer who is on a zero-hours contract, they will qualify if on average they work two weeks out of every three, and when they are working they get 25 hours of work at the minimum wage.
  • ‘Parent’ means a person who has parental responsibility for the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earning threshold.
  • Foster carers are only eligible for the extended entitlement for their own children (if they meet the criteria); they are not eligible for children that they foster.

Flexibility - Taking up the extended entitlement

If you are eligible for the extended entitlement, you can take up to 1140 hours free childcare across the year. This can be taken term time only or ‘stretched’ across the year, as follows:

  • Up to 30 hours per week across 38 weeks per year or (term time offer)
  • Up to 23.75 hours per week across 48 weeks per year or (stretched offer)
  • Up to 22.25 hours per week across 51 weeks of the year (stretched offer).

Flexibility options will need to be discussed with your chosen early years provider as the range of models and their availability will vary across the city.

Not all providers may be able to offer the stretched offer, the full 30 hours per week or the particular pattern of provision that you require however, you can split your entitlement across more than one provider.

You will be able to access your free childcare:

  • between 6am and 8pm
  • up to a maximum of 10 free hours per day, 30 hours per week (38 weeks per year).
  • across a maximum of two sites in a single day.


If you take more than 30 hours per week (or the equivalent of 1140 hours per year), there will be a charge from the provider for the additional hours. Please check with your provider for details of these and any other additional charges such as for meals, snacks or additional services. 

Splitting funding between different providers

You can take the funded entitlement at a maximum of two sites per day. Many providers will allow you to take the provision flexibly, in a pattern that meets your needs.

For example, your child could have nine hours with one provider and six hours with another provider.

Early Years Pupil Premium and Disability Access Fund

Early Years Pupil Premium

This is an additional sum of money paid to childcare providers for children of families in receipt of certain benefits including:

  • Income Support/income based Jobseeker's Allowance/income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit run-on, which is paid for 4 weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child is 'looked after' by a local authority in England or Wales
  • Child has left care in England or Wales through an adoption, a special guardian order or a child arrangement order

What can EYPP funding be used for?

The funding will be used to enhance the quality of your child’s early years’ experience by improving the teaching and learning and facilities and resources, with the aim of impacting positively on your child’s progress and development. For more information, please speak to your childcare provider.

Why is it important that I ensure that the provider can claim the Early Years Pupil Premium if my child does qualify?

High quality early years education and childcare can influence how well a child achieves at both primary and secondary school so we want to make the most of this additional funding.

Please note: In order for us to check your eligibility for EYPP, the personal details of the main benefit holder must be completed under the EYPP section of the Parent Declaration Form.

Disability Access Fund (DAF)

Since April 2017, the government introduced a new targeted early years Disability Access Fund of £12.5m, to enable a fixed lump sum payment of £615 per eligible child per year to be paid to early years settings that are providing a funded entitlement place for 3 and 4-year-olds. The fund is to support early years providers to make initial reasonable adjustments and build the capacity of their setting to support disabled children. Additional funding for providing ongoing support for disabled young children will continue to be available from the high needs block, including for children with Education, Health and Care plans (EHCP). Children with SEND who are not in receipt of DLA will be able to access support from the local SEN inclusion fund. If you think your child might be eligible for DAF please speak to your childcare provider.

DAF is paid to the child’s early years setting as a fixed annual rate of £615 per eligible child. If your child attends more than one provider, you will need to nominate the main provider where the local authority should pay the DAF on the DAF application form.

  • The DAF is for 3 and 4 year olds who are in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance and are receiving the Funded Entitlement.

Please note: You will be required to provide evidence that your child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance.