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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.

Download our guidance on when funding can be offered/claimed.

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).

Queries concerning funding may be emailed to the Early Years Finance team at, or call 01603 222300 – Option 2.

Other information