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Free nursery education for three and four-year-olds

Do you know about 30 hours free childcare for three and four-year-olds?  Are you eligible? Click here to find out more

All three and four-year-old children are entitled to a free universal early education place.  Each place provides 15 hours of early years education for up to 38 weeks per year.  However, this universal entitlement is flexible and can be accessed over a minimum of three days per week (this can be stretched to two days with providers who operate for 45 weeks or more per year), but this will be dependent on whether a provider can accommodate this. As a minimum, all providers must offer a three-hour session, five days a week.

These places can be accessed through participating providers including:

  • private nursery schools
  • private or voluntary pre-schools or playgroups
  • private or voluntary day nurseries
  • nursery units of independent schools
  • local authority schools

A list of participating providers can be found here

Parents will be expected to pay for any additional services or additional hours of early education/childcare over and above the universal entitlement.

Expand the section below to find out how to access the 15 hours funded early education.

Some working parents could now be eligible for an additional 15 hours of free childcare (the 30 hours extended entitlement) for their three and four-year-olds. These families will be able to access up to 30 hours of free early education and childcare a week.  Please click on the link below to find out more:

30 Hours Early Education and Childcare for Three and Four-Year-Olds (extended entitlement)

When will my child become eligible for a universal place?

All children attending a registered provider in Kensington and Chelsea are eligible for funding in the term after they become three, irrespective of where they live.

The table below shows when a child becomes eligible:

A child born between

…is eligible for a universal entitlement place…

1 April and 31 August

From the start of the autumn term (September to December) following their third birthday until statutory school age.

1 September and 31 December

From the start of the spring term (January to March) following their third birthday until statutory school age.

1 January and 31 March

From the start of the summer term (April to August) following their third birthday until statutory school age.


How can I access a place?

You need to contact your preferred early years provider to access a place.  If your preferred provider is oversubscribed, you can take up your entitlement at any of the listed participating providers.  The local authority has a duty to ensure your child can access a place but such places cannot be guaranteed at a particular provider.

If your child is already attending an early years setting your provider will be aware of when your child becomes eligible for the funding.

In order to claim the funding, your early years provider will need to see a copy of your child’s birth certificate and will ask you to sign a declaration form. They will then claim the funding from the local authority on your behalf. You cannot apply individually.

Registration deadline

Each term we set a ‘headcount date’ and children not registered with a participating provider by that date will not be able to claim the grant until the following term (except under exceptional circumstances).

Please ask your participating provider for details of each termly headcount day.

More information

If you require any more help or advice, please contact the FIS on ( 0845 313 3933)

Last Updated 17/04/2020

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