Free early education and childcare

In England some 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 year olds are eligible for 15 hours free 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 less hours over more weeks.

The date in which your child can start claiming 15 hours of free 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, Pre-schools, Day Nurseries, Maintained Nurseries and Schools with nursery classes or earlier years provision who are approved by Buckinghamshire County Council 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 in a play based, safe and nurturing environment. This gives your child the chance to mix with other children and perhaps try out activities which may not be possible at home. It also gives you, the parent, 15 hours a weeks to  study, return to or look for work.

Find more information about 2 year old funding

Check your eligibility

What is 3 and 4  year old funding?

Universal 3 and 4 year old funding

Every child that is 3 or 4 years old is automatically entitled to 15 hours of free childcare  the term after their 3rd birthday. As for 2 year old funding, this can only be accessed at approved childcare providers.

Extended 3 and 4 year old funding

The additional 15 hours funding is also known as the ’30 hours free childcare’. This is an extension of the 3 and 4 year old funding, but unlike the universal entitlement you must match the eligibility criteria.  If you are found to be eligible you will be given a validity code to enable to claim up to an additional 15 hours from a Buckinghamshire County Council approved provider.

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