Free early education for 3 and 4 year olds

Every child can have 15 hours per week FREE early education from the term after their third birthday for 38 weeks of the year (see below for dates)

A child born in… Can access their free place from…
1st April to 31st August Autumn school term (September)
1st September to 31st December Spring school term (January)
1st January to 31st March Summer school term (April)

Your child’s free early education gives them a great start in life. It can give your child the chance to make new friends and they can explore and learn in a safe environment which has activities built around their needs.

Your child can get their free place at schools, independent schools, day nurseries, children’s centres or pre-schools. Some childminders have also registered to offer free early education places.

Early Education is free for all 3 and 4 year olds so you should not have to pay for anything extra for your child to go to their free 15 hours early education place.

To find where your child can get their free place contact the Families Information Service on freephone 0800 0730230 or email or visit our

Early Education - What Choices Do I Have?

This guide explains how and where your child can take up their funded early education place, what information may help you decide where your child will take up their place and how to make a complaint if you are not offered a choice

Free Early Education for 3 & 4 year olds

Find out more about your child’s free place and how to access it

Free Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds