All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year.

This is usually taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year but can be stretched out to include holiday periods (that is over 50 weeks of the year).

If you think you are eligible for 30 hours free childcare for working parents click here.

The free entitlement does not affect any means tested benefits.

You can start claiming free childcare after your child turns 3. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

  • Children born between 1 April and 31 August will be eligible to a free place the beginning of term on or after 1 September.
  • Children born between 1 September and 31 December will be eligible to a free place the beginning of term on or after​ 1 January.
  • Children born between 1 January and 31 March will be eligible to a free place the beginning of term on or after​ 1 April.

You can’t continue to claim free childcare once your child starts reception class in a state school.

The free early education and childcare can be at:

  • all types of nurseries and nursery classes
  • playgroups and pre-school
  • childminders
  • Sure Start Children’s Centres

Search for registered childcare providers on the Newcastle Support Directory

How do I get my Universal Offer place?

Once you have found a registered provider, they will ask you to complete a registration form/agreement. This will involve negotiating the hours your child will attend the setting.

The free entitlement should be free for up to 15 hours or with immediate reduction in fees if you are paying for additional hours yourself. Your provider may charge you for providing breakfast, lunch or snacks, but you do not need to buy additional hours and you should not be charged for any part of your free entitlement.

Anything else?

Printable sheets and Website links for further information:

30 hours free extended entitlement (A4 summary) (pdf)

30 hours free extended entitlement (full version) (pdf)

Apply for Tax free Childcare (external link)

Complete the Parent declaration form (pdf) and take to your chosen childcare setting

Page last updated: 
24 October 2017
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