Free early learning for 3 and 4 year olds

All 3 and 4 year old children are entitled to Funded Early Education and can use childminders, pre-school playgroups, nurseries or children's centres who are registered with Gloucestershire County Council to deliver nursery education.

The entitlement is for 15 hours per week over a minimum of 38 weeks in the year.

The minimum length of a session is 2 hours and the maximum is 10 hours in any one day.

Entitlement can be stretched over more than 38 weeks if you use fewer than 15 hours per week. This would be negotiated with your childcare provider.

Children must remain in the provision for a minimum of 2 weeks in order to be eligible for the funding. Please note that you if you remove your child before the qualifying period, you will be liable for all costs incurred.


When is your child eligible?

You can start claiming free early education from the term following your child's 3rd birthday.

Child's birthday 1 January to 31 March

  • Funding entitlement starts Summer term (April)

Child's birthday 1 April to 31 August

  • Funding entitlement starts Autumn term (September)

Child's birthday 1 September to 31 December

  • Funding entitlement starts Spring term (January)

How to find a childcare provider?

Providers registered for this scheme are listed on the Glos Families directory. The list includes childminders, day nurseries, playgroups, nursery classes and independent schools.

Can you use more than one childcare provider?

The free entitlement can be taken with up to two providers, however the total funded hours cannot exceed 15. Most providers will allow you to take the provision flexibly to enable you to meet your needs.

Will there be any additional charges?

A parent cannot be charged for any part of the free entitlement however, a provider may charge for meals, snacks or optional extras as they may not always be included within the free entitlement. If you take more than 15 hours per week there will be a charge made by the provider for these additional hours.

Please check with your provider for full details of any additional charges.

Any questions?

Contact the Family Information Service on 01452 427362 or Freephone 0800 542 02 02 (calls to the Freephone number may be charged, check with your network provider)

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