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Up to 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

From September 2017 eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year old children could receive up to an additional 15 hours of funded early education a week, on top of the current 15 hours available for all 3 and 4 year olds. Families could receive up to 30 hours of funded education over 38 weeks (or up to 1140 hours per year).

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 30 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.

Check if you are eligible and apply for 30 hours free childcare

Apply online to HMRC who check and confirm eligibility.

If your child will be 3 years old by 31 August you should apply now.

What next?   

  • If you are successful in your application you will receive a code from HMRC. This code must be passed onto your chosen childcare provider who will validate the code with Southend Borough Council.
  • Discuss with your childcare provider how the funded hours can be taken with them.
  • Important: every 3 months parents will be prompted by HMRC via text/ email to log into the Gateway Account and reconfirm details and eligibility.
  • If your family’s circumstances change and you are no longer eligible for the additional 15 hours of free childcare, a grace period will apply so that your children can continue with their free place for a short period of time. All 3 and 4 year olds will still be able to claim up to 15 hours per week of funded childcare (or 570 hours per year).

Looking for childcare

Search Southend Information Point to find childcare.

Page last updated: 20/06/2017