15 hours childcare places for three and four year olds

All three- and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year.

This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday).

Free early education places are available at a range of early years settings including nursery schools and classes, day nurseries, play groups and pre-schools and childminders.

The free early years entitlement can be taken flexibly within the following limits:

  • the full 15 hours have to be taken over at least two days per week and a maximum of five days per week
  • a minimum of 2.5 hours can be taken in one day
  • a maximum of 10 hours can be taken in one day.

You can take the free entitlement at up to two providers.

The basic offering is three hours over five days a week, or five hours over three days a week, but 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 at a nursery or reception class and six hours with a playgroup, day nursery, childminder or independent school over the course of two days or more.

What is my child entitled to?

All three- and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early learning and care, over 38 weeks of the year.

  • children who are three in January, February or March can have their free place from the start of the summer term
  • children who are three in April, May, June, July or August can have their free place from the start of the autumn term.
  • children who are three in September, October, November or December can have their free place from the start of the spring term.

You can find details of Nottinghamshire term dates on our schools page.

30 hours funded childcare – starting September 2017

From September, the free hours for 3-4 year olds will be extended to 30 hours for working* parents.

If eligible, you will be entitled to an extra 570 hours of free childcare a year to use flexibly. This is 1,140 hours in total.

You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £120 a week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage). If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible. 

You can't claim the additional hours if you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 or more.

For further information and to register for updates visit the government's Childcare Choices website.

Who provides early years education?

Your child may go to any early years setting which is included in the Nottinghamshire Directory of Providers and has a place available.

Additional charges 

The Provider may make a reasonable charge for meals provided to children during the day where the parent has consented to this in advance or been given the option to provide a packed lunch.

Free lunches discontinued

As of the 1 April 2017 free school meals for Early Years children will no longer be available. This is due to changes in funding.

Although this funding is no longer available for Early Years children we would still encourage you to register your child/children either:

  • on the Citizens Portal
  • by contacting the School Admissions and Free School Meals team on 0300 500 80 80.

This is for the purpose of Pupil Premium and future free school meal applications when your child is at an eligible age (this is dependant on eligible benefits).

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