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Two, three and four year olds - free early education

Free early education for two year olds

Free early education for two year olds is a funded scheme which entitles some children to access a place in a pre-school, nursery or with a childminder for 15 hours per week, 38 weeks per year. Please use the links on this page to find out more information. 

 A child born in the period Will become eligible for a free place
1 April to 31 August   the start of term beginning on or following 1 September after the child's second birthday
1 September to 31 December   the start of term beginning on or following 1 January after the child's second birthday 
1 January to 31 March   the start of term beginning on or following 1 April after the child's second birthday 

Free early education for three and four year olds

All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early education for 38 weeks of the year. This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday). Free early education places are available at a range of early years settings including nursery schools and classes, day nurseries, play groups, pre-schools and childminders.

 A child born in the period Will become eligible for a free place
1 April to 31 August   the start of term beginning on or following 1 September after the child's third birthday
1 September to 31 December   the start of term beginning on or following 1 January after the child's third birthday 
1 January to 31 March   the start of term beginning on or following 1 April after the child's third birthday 

Find providers who offer free early education by searching the childcare directory or contact the Family Information Service.