Free Early Years Education for 3 and 4 Year Olds

All three and four year old children are entitled to 15 hours per week free early years childcare from the start of the term following their third birthday.

When will my child receive a free place?

Funding for 3 and 4 year olds will start from the term after your child’s 3rd birthday.

Children born between     Free places start from
1 January to 31 March  summer (from 1 April)
1 April to 31 August     autumn (from 1 September)
1 September to 31 December     spring (from 1 January)

What types of childcare you can use

You can use the 15 hours free childcare with approved childcare providers registered to access Southend Borough Council (SBC) early education funding. This includes:

  • childminders
  • pre-schools, play groups and day nurseries
  • out-of-school clubs
  • early education and childcare provision run by schools (including school nursery classes)

Children attending a school reception class cannot access the free childcare entitlement.

How do I get free pre-school education?

  • Visit the Southend Information Point website and search to find early years childcare providers in your area.
  • Discuss with your childcare provider how the funded hours can be taken with them.
  • Your chosen childcare provider will ask you to register for your child’s free pre-school education by completing a Parent Declaration Form. You will be asked to provide proof of your child’s date of birth e.g. birth certificate.
  • Once registered, the pre-school education provider will keep all the necessary information you provided and claim the funding for your child directly from us – you do not need to do anything else.

Page last updated: 27/09/2017