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15 hours of funded childcare for all 3 and 4-year-olds

All 3 and 4-year-old children in Derbyshire are entitled to universal early years entitlement funding and can receive up to 15 hours a week over 38 weeks of the year.

This is a universal entitlement available to all 3 and 4-year-olds. Children become eligible for their funded early education place the term after their third birthday and this place is available until they reach compulsory school age (the term after their fifth birthday).

Families can take fewer hours per week over more weeks of the year. This is often called stretched funding. An example of a stretched offer would be 11 hours a week for 51 weeks of the year. You should check with individual providers to find out if they're able to do this.

The early education place can be taken at a maximum of 2 sites per day, which means a parent may use any combination of registered childcare providers to access the entitlement hours, up to 2 sites a day.

When can my child take up a place

Your child will be able to take up their place from the term after their third birthday. For example, if your child was 3 in May, they would be entitled to take up their place from the beginning of the autumn term, which starts in September.

When your child can take up a place
Child's third birthday is on or betweenChild will be entitled to a funded place from
1 January to 31 March Summer term (April onwards)
1 April to 31 August Autumn term (September onwards)
1 September to 31 December Spring term (January onwards)

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

How to apply

As this is a universal offer available to all 3 and 4-year-olds in Derbyshire you do not need to apply for these funded hours, your chosen childcare provider will be able to claim for them on your behalf.

All you need to do is choose a childcare provider and discuss your requirements and the current availability with them.

When you've chosen a childcare provider, you'll be asked to complete any necessary forms. The childcare provider will notify us and submit a claim for funding on your behalf. The childcare provider will receive the funding directly.

How to find a childcare place

There is a choice of early education providers such as a school nursery class, preschool playgroup, private day nursery or childminder. You can search approved providers on the childcare directory to find a place.

Search for a childcare place

If you need any support finding a place to meet your needs contact The Family Information Service by email, or tel: 01629 535793.

Will I have to pay anything for my child's early education place?

Your child's early education place is paid for by the government, however, schools and childcare providers can charge for meals, consumables (such as nappies and sun cream), additional activities (such as trips) or additional hours (hours that are taken over and above the funded entitlement hours).

Where a parent chooses to pay for additional hours, this is a private arrangement between the parent and the school or childcare provider.

Schools and childcare providers should be open and transparent about any additional charges prior to a child taking up a place, so parents have a clear choice and know the cost of any extras they may wish to purchase.


If you have any questions about 3 and 4-year-old funding, please contact the Families Information Service: