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Free early education and childcare

All 3 and 4 year olds and some 2 year olds are entitled to a certain amount of free early education and childcare. Find out if your child is eligible.

Free childcare places

Free childcare is also called FEEE (Free Early Educational Entitlement).

All 3 and 4 year olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of FEEE. This is usually taken as a maximum of 15 hours a week over 38 weeks of the year, in line with Leicestershire’s school term dates, but can be taken as fewer hours over more weeks. Some 2 year olds are also eligible.

What you need to do

  1. Check if your child is eligible
  2. Find a childcare provider which offers the FEEE. This might be a day nursery, pre-school and playgroup or a childminder
  3. Check how you can use your hours
  4. Sign a Parental Statement of Undertaking (PSOU) showing the hours your child attends the provider

From September 2017: 30 hours free childcare

From September 2017 the government will increase free childcare to 30 hours a week (for up to 38 weeks a year). This increase will only be available to working families who meet certain criteria.

The extra funding is to:

  • support working parents to manage the cost of childcare
  • support parents into work
  • allow parents to increase their hours, should they wish to

Parents will be able to access the funding through early years providers. This includes:

  • childminders
  • pre-school playgroups
  • day nurseries
  • out of school providers
  • school-run early years provision

To find out who is eligible please see the Department for Education's (DfE) Childcare Policy Statement (PDF).

Starting school

Your child may be offered a place in a nursery or reception class when they are 4 years old if you've applied for a school place.

Once a child is attending school, even on a part-time basis you are no longer entitled to FEEE.

Your child doesn't have to attend school until they are compulsory school age (the term after their 5th birthday).

Further information about starting school is in the 'Your Guide to Primary Education'.

Got a concern

If you are worried about the way in which your FEEE is being managed, write to:

Early Learning and Childcare Service (0-5 Learning Service)
Leicestershire County Council
Room 100a
County Hall

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