3 & 4 year funding

3 and 4 year old children are entitled to free early education from the term following their 3rd birthday until they reach compulsory school age (the beginning of the term following their 5th birthday).

Children are entitled to access school reception class from September following their 4th birthday. Where parents choose to defer entry, and keep their child in a Private, Voluntary or Independent provision they may still access the 15 hour entitlement until their child reaches compulsory school age, the term after their 5th birthday.

Places must be offered flexibly to meet the needs of parents and providers will deliver their own model of flexibility within the parameters set out in the EYE Guidance. Parents must liaise with the provider of choice to decide which model suits their needs.

There is no requirement for all early education places to be delivered only over 38 weeks of the year or in line with maintained school term dates. Where a child is attending school reception class in a state school (full or part time), Early Years Entitlement hours cannot be claimed by an early years provider.

A child born on or betweenWill become eligible for a free place from;
1st April to 31st AugustSeptember following their 3rd


(start of Autumn term)

1st September to 31st DecemberJanuary following their 3rd Birthday

(Start of Spring school term)

1st January to 31st MarchApril following their 3rd Birthday

(start of Summer school term)