Free Early Education

All 3 and 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year. *Some 3 year olds may be entitled to 30 hours free. Some 2-year-olds are also eligible for 15 hours free.

You can start claiming free early education after your child turns 3. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January


Your child was born on 15 February 2015. They will become eligible for free early education from the start of the term following 1 April 2018.


Some 2-year-olds in England can also get free early education.

You must be getting one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (local council) to check if your child’s eligible.
    • you get Working Tax Credits and earn no more than £16,190 a year
    • they have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
    • they get Disability Living Allowance
    • they have left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order
    Contact your local council to check if your child will be eligible.