15 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds
All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks, for example.
The free early education and childcare:
- must be with an approved childcare provider
- stops when your child starts in reception class (or reaches compulsory school age, if later)
You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.
You can get it from the term after your child’s 3rd birthday.
30 hours free childcare
Some 3 to 4-year-olds are eligible for up to 30 hours free childcare a week (1,140 hours per year, which you can choose how you take). Check if you’re eligible and find out how to apply (https://www.gov.uk/apply-30-hours-free-tax-free-childcare)
You can apply online for a childcare account to get a code for 30 hours to give to your provider.
How to apply
You can apply from when your child is 2 years and 36 weeks old.
|When your child turns 3
||When they can get 30 hours from
||Recommended time to apply
|1 September to 31 December
||15 October to 30 November
|1 January to 31 March
||15 January to 28 February
|1 April to 31 August
||15 June to 31 July
You can apply outside of these recommended dates, but you might not receive your code in time.
You must have a valid code by the end of the month before a new term starts.
You have to reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months. If you apply more than 3 months before the term starts, you’ll have to reconfirm your eligibility in your account in order to keep your code valid.
Apply online for 30 hours free childcare.