Funded early education and childcare

In England, some 2-year-olds and all 3 and 4-year-olds are eligible for 15 hours funded early education and childcare. 

In addition, some 3 and 4-year-olds are eligible for up to an additional 15 hours. This is for 38 weeks a year but may be stretched to enable you to claim fewer hours over more weeks.

The date on which your child can start claiming 15 hours of funded childcare depends on when their birthday is.

Child's birthday

When you can start claiming

1 January to 31 March

Summer Term (from 1 April)

1 April to 31 August

Autumn Term (From 1 September)

1 September

Spring Term (From 1 January )

Funded places are available through a range of providers including:

  • childminders
  • preschools
  • day nurseries
  • maintained nurseries
  • schools with nursery classes or earlier years provision who are approved by us to deliver funded places

Find more information about participating providers in your area.


What is 2-year-old funding?

Based on a range of criteria the funding gives your child up to 15 hours a week of learning opportunities.

This gives your child the chance to mix with other children and try out different activities. It also gives you, the parent, 15 hours a week to study, return to or look for work.

Find more information about 2-year-old funding

Apply for 2-year-old funding

Lost reference code

If you have already applied but have lost your 6 digit reference code, please email


Find childcare providers

If you are eligible, you will be sent a confirmation letter. You can take this to any of the approved childcare providers.


Help to find a childcare place

The Early Years Brokerage Service provides help to families who are unable to find a 2-year-old funded place. We will discuss your needs and provide advice and information on the availability of places in your area.

Apply for help from the Brokerage Service.


What is 3 and 4-year-old funding?

Universal funding

Every child that is 3 or 4 years old is automatically entitled to 15 hours of funded childcare the term after their 3rd birthday.

As for 2-year-old funding, this can only be accessed at approved childcare providers.

Extended funding

The additional 15 hours funding is also known as the '30 hours funded childcare'.

This is an extension of the 3 and 4-year-old funding. Unlike the universal entitlement, you must match the eligibility criteria.  If you are found to be eligible you will be given a validity code.  This will let you claim up to an additional 15 hours from an approved provider.

Check if you are eligible for the additional 15 hours funding at 3 and 4 years old.


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