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Free early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

30 hours additional childcare

You can claim up to 15 additional hours if you meet the eligibility criteria, on top of the 15 hours of Universal Entitlement.

When to apply

You need to have applied for and received an eligible code from HMRC before the start of the funding block in which your child will be eligible.

You will be given a start date for this code which will match the day you apply.

This date must be before the end of the previous funding block.

We are unable to fund codes that have been issued after the deadline. These codes will be eligible for the next full funding block.

Date of child's third birthdayDate you need to apply byDate child becomes eligible for the 30-hour entitlement (if parents have had eligibility confirmed)
1 January to 31 March31 MarchStart of term beginning on or following 1 April
1 April to 31 August31 AugustStart of term beginning or following 1 September
1 September to 31 December31 DecemberStart of term beginning or following 1 January

Please allow time for HMRC to process your code and for your provider to validate it. The 30-hour code application deadlines have been set by the Department for Education.

We recommend you apply at least 3 weeks before the deadline date, in case of any delays when receiving your code.

Your childcare provider may have set their own deadline for validating 30 hour codes prior to the beginning of each term. This is particularly the case for funded places beginning in September with providers who are closed for the Summer holidays.

Please talk to your childcare provider about when you should provide them with your 30-hour code, in order to ensure your child will receive the funding.

Additional hours

You can apply for additional hours.


You must confirm your details are up to date every 3 months or your code will expire and funding for your additional hours will stop.


You can access the funded entitlement at most Ofsted registered childcare providers.

These include:

  • private day nurseries
  • pre-school playgroups
  • maintained nurseries
  • childminders, including childminders registered with a Childminding Agency
  • out of school provision
  • independent schools

Please check that the provider offers the additional hours, and all of the terms and conditions, before taking up the place.

Contact us

If you need any help, please email [email protected].

Last updated 12 February 2024