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Funded early education is available to all three and four-year-old children living in England. The number of hours available will be dependent on their family’s circumstances.

All children will be entitled to a maximum of 570 hours funded childcare per year. This is known as the universal entitlement. This entitlement equates to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, or fewer hours per week over more weeks of the year (eg 12 hours a week for 47.5 weeks of the year).

Some families will be entitled to an additional 570 hours per week. This will be dependent on them meeting a national criteria.

The way in which both entitlements are offered to parents/carers must adhere to the Early education and childcare statutory guidance issued by the Department for Education and the Local Authority’s Funding Agreement.

Either entitlement can be accessed from the claim period following the child’s third birthday provided the criteria is met.

The local authority will recommend a total number of funded hours available each claim period to ensure funding is available throughout the year (for at least 38 weeks), and adjust where claims exceed the maximum. 

Claiming funding

Parents and Carers

Once the childcare agreement is agreed, each claim period families must complete and sign a parent/carer claim form to confirm the hours to be claimed on their behalf.  This form is issued to families and retained by the childcare provider.  Also available is a parent / carer booklet, this should also be shared to help them understand more about early education.



Providers must have access to the Early Years Provider Portal to claim the funding for families.  Access is determined by the Local Authority Funding Agreement that must be in place.

Need some support to claim?

Parents and Carers

Families should talk to their childcare provider.



If you have a query about funding, you can:

  • email the Early Years Finance team at
  • call the Early Years Finance team on 01603 222300 – Option 2
  • attend training which is offered via Zoom sessions

Marketing materials

Leaflets and posters about early education are available. Contact Family Information via to find out more.

Other information