Free childcare

In Derbyshire, all families are entitled to up to 570 hours of free early education from the term following a child's third birthday.


Free early education funding only applies until a child either starts school reception after the child's fourth birthday or reaches compulsory school age (the term following the child's fifth birthday).

Where a parent chooses to defer their child's school place and their child is of compulsory school age, the free early education funding will not continue at the parents chosen provider.

Some families are also entitled to up to 15 hours' free childcare a week for their two-year-old if they are on low incomes or certain benefits.

Some nurseries, pre-schools or childminders registered to give early education may be able to 'stretch' the funding over 52 weeks but it would be advisable to check with individual providers to find out if they are able to do this.

The free nursery education can be provided by:

  • private, voluntary or independent sector nurseries and pre-schools
  • nursery schools or nursery units in infant or primary schools
  • childminders registered to provide early education.

You can search for free early education places (opens in a new window) or contact Call Derbyshire:

When children are eligible for free nursery education

If your child's birthday is 1 January to 31 March - first term eligible is Easter (term five).

If your child's birthday is 1 April to 31 August - first term eligible is September (term one).

If your child's birthday is 1 September to 31 December - first term eligible is January (term three).

Applying for free nursery education

Once you know what there is in your area, make contact with providers to find out what they offer.

When you have chosen a provider they will ask you to complete any necessary forms and then notify us so that we can process the payments.

Remember to contact providers well before your child becomes eligible, to check whether there are vacant places.

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)

The following documents are in Word format. You can download software to view Word documents for free from the Word viewer page (opens in a new window) of the Microsoft website.