- Universal free entitlement - For all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. Children can use up to 570 hours each year, or a maximum of 15 hours over 38 weeks.
- Extended free entitlement (also known as 30 hours free childcare) is for eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year olds only. Children can use an additional 570 hours each year, or a maximum of 30 hours per week over 38 weeks (1140 hours in total). If the funding is spread over a longer period, the amount of hours taken per week would be reduced. Parents must apply online to the government to confirm their eligibility.
What is Free Entitlement?
Free Entitlement (FE) is Government funding for free childcare for all eligible children regardless of their individual needs or their citizenship status. FE is up to 570 hours per year of flexible free childcare available to all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. Some 3 and 4 year olds are eligible for an additional 570 (up to1,140) hours per year, which we call Extended FE, if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Free places are available at eligible childminders, pre-schools and day nurseries(along with some out of school clubs and holiday play schemes meeting extra criteria). These childcare providers are known as ‘settings’.
What are the benefits?
The work of childhood is play. Children naturally learn by playing, exploring their world, being creative and finding things out. The activities you do at home with your child are key to helping them develop.
In addition, research has shown that children who also attend a high quality childcare setting enhance their all-round development and are predicted better grades as they progress through school. The longer they attend (in months and years) the greater the advantage they have. Parents often say their children benefit by:
- having fun, improving social skills and making new friends
- experiencing new activities and learning new things
- building their confidence and independence
- encouraging their imagination and creativity
- developing skills that help them with writing later on
- learning to share, take turns and listen
- being ready for school
- start, go back to, or increase their hours at work
- undertake training and gain qualifications
- spend time with younger siblings
- continue with caring responsibilities
- know that they are giving their child a good start to their education
A high quality setting provides a wide range of opportunities for your child to learn as they play”