All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. If this is taken during term-time only, this would work out as 15 hours a week over 38 weeks of the year.
From September 2017, the government will increase the free early education or childcare for families who meet certain criteria to 30 hours a week (if used over 38 weeks a year), see the Department for Education's (DfE) Childcare Bill.
The date you start claiming depends on your child's birthday.
|Child's birthday||When you can claim|
|1 January to 31 March||The beginning of term on or after 1 April|
|1 April - 31 August|
The beginning of term on or after 1 September
|1 September - 31 December||The beginning of tern on or after 1 January|
Your child remains eligible for the universal entitlement up to and including the term in which they turn five but once your child starts attending school, their entitlement stops.
Your child can start school in the September after which they turn four and must be in full time education at the start of the term after which they turn five.
- No, your provider should not charge you for any of your entitlement hours
- The fees that would normally be charged by your early years provider for these hours must be removed from your invoice
- Your provider may charge you for additional services such as snacks or specific activities, or extra childcare that is additional to the free entitlement place
- These additional services cannot be offered as a condition of you accessing your free nursery entitlement place
- You cannot be charged administration fees if your child is only accessing the free early education entitlement
- If additional childcare is taken up, then an early years provider can charge this fee.
- Yes, funding is allocated on the basis of where your child is educated, rather than where they live
- You don’t need to do anything, except inform your early years provider that you wish to access the free entitlement through them
- Your provider is responsible for claiming the funding for your child from Wiltshire Council, and will ask you to confirm your child’s details and sign a termly headcount form
You can split your child’s entitlement between a maximum of two early years providers at any one time: three if your child has special educational needs and one early years provider is a district specialist centre.
We will follow up any complaints received from parents about the charging of fees or failure to pass on the benefit of the free entitlement
You can contact us in a number of ways:
Online: Complete a parent complaint form
By email: email@example.com
By telephone: 01225 757972
Free Entitlement Funding
2nd floor, County Hall
Free early education can be claimed by parents for all three and four year olds. It covers up to a maximum of 15 hours per week, accessed over a minimum of 38 weeks of the year; a total maximum entitlement of 570 hours each year. Parents do not contribute towards this entitlement but may be charged by providers for additional services such as snacks, specific activities or extra childcare over the allocated 15 hours.
Parents may choose to send their child to a provider for less than 15 hours a week but extend this over more than 38 weeks during the year.
Parents may choose to send their child to a provider for less than 15 hours a week but extend this over more than 38 weeks during the year. For more information about this, please see extension to free entitlement funding.
It is the early years provider’s responsibility to check that children are eligible for funding. They should ask to see birth certificates if they are in any doubt.
Funding is allocated on the basis of where the child is educated, rather than where they live. This means that all children attending should be claimed for whether they live in or outside Wiltshire.
|Date of birth|
Summer funded period 2016 (terms 5 and 6)
|Autumn funded period 2016 (terms 1 and 2)||Spring funded period 2017 (terms 3 and 4)|
|1/4/11 - 31/8/11||Eligible||Compulsory school age||Compulsory school age|
|1/9/11 -31/12/11||Eligible||Eligible||Compulsory school age|
|1/1/12 - 31/3/12||Eligible||Eligible||Eligible|
|1/4/12 - 31/8/12||Eligible||Eligible||Eligible|
|1/9/12 - 31/12/12||Eligible||Eligible||Eligible|
|1/1/13 - 31/3/13||Eligible||Eligible||Eligible|
|1/4/13 - 31/8/13||Too young||Eligible||Eligible|
|1/9/13 - 31/12/13||Too young||Too young||Eligible|
The Department for Education's statutory guidance for local authorities on the provision of early education and childcare details the national conditions which providers must work to in order to qualify for free entitlement.
Wiltshire’s Local Code of Practice was developed in consultation with the Early Years’ reference group and summarises the local conditions providers must comply with in order to take the free entitlement. It also provides information about the administrative processes involved in claiming it.
|Funding type||provider type||2016 - 2017 hourly rate||2017 - 2018 hourly rate|
|2 year olds||All childcare providers||£4.97||£5.32|
|3 & 4 year olds||All childcare providers||£3.81||£4.14|
Wiltshire’s early years providers receive funding for eligible three and four year old children on a monthly basis. The amount a group receives is calculated using a Single Funding Formula.
Initial payments are calculated and paid according to an annual provisional funding estimate.
This is revised throughout the year as the Early Years & Childcare team is provided with more accurate information about the actual numbers of qualifying children attending a provider during three funding periods. The table below shows the maximum hours which can be claimed for a child in each funding period.
(Terms 1 & 2)
|Spring 2017 |
(Terms 3 & 4)
|Funded dates||1 April - 31 August||1 September - 31 December||1 January - 31 March|
|Maximum number of funded weeks||13 - 22 weeks||14 - 17 weeks||11 - 13 weeks*|
|Maximum number of funded hours||195 hours||210 hours||165 hours|
*Where children attend for fewer hours a week, or providers are unable to supply the maximum number of hours/funded weeks, the level of funding attracted will be pro-rata.Close
Early Years Pupil Premium is additional funding available to early years providers delivering funded hours to eligible three and four year old children. Funding has been set a national rate of 53p per hour and could give an early years provider an additional £302 per year per eligible child accessing the full 570 hours with them.
Children do not need to access the full entitlement to be eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium as funding will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
For more information have a look at the Pupil Premium page.Close