30 Hours Free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

All 3 and 4 year olds get 15 hours per week of free childcare.

Some 3 and 4 year olds can have an extra 15 hours per week (570 hours per year).

A government application decides who is eligible.

When to apply

  • The earliest you can apply is 16 weeks before your child’s third birthday
  • The latest you can apply is when your child reaches compulsory school age


How to apply

You must apply online through the Government Gateway. It should take around 30 minutes to do

As part of the process you can:

  • check your eligibility for the extra 15 hours per week free childcare
  • check you will be better off as the extra hours free childcare might affect how much you get in tax credits
  • make your application


What happens next

If you’re eligible, you will receive a childcare code online. The code is valid for 3 months.

Give the code to your approved childcare provider.


Taking the childcare place

  • you must take the free childcare  at an approved childcare provider

It starts:

  • from the term after you apply following the child's 3rd birthday, if approved by HMRC.

 It stops when:

  • your child starts reception class or reaches compulsory school age, or
  • you fail to reconfirm your entitlement every 3 months

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

There are other rules about how you can take your entitlement.

Contact Childcare Planning Team