Funded early education and childcare for three and four year olds

funded early years childcare

All children can receive up to 15 hours per week for up to 38 weeks a year. It starts the term after their third birthday and we call this the 'Universal entitlement'.

Parents should check with their chosen provider as to when they are able to take their funded sessions. No charge can be made for any element of the funded early education entitlement, but parents may purchase additional hours of childcare to suit their own individual needs. Parents should also expect to pay for the costs of extras such as lunch and trips out. Some children are eligible for an extra 15 hours per week, see: Eligibility for 30 hours of childcare .

At what age is early education available

Date of third or fourth birthday Place available
3rd or 4th birthday between 1st January and 31st March Place starts in April (summer funding period)
3rd or 4th birthday between 1st April and 31st August Place starts in September (autumn funding period)
3rd or 4th birthday between 1st September and 31st December Place starts in January (spring funding period)

Eligibility for 30 hours of childcare

Eligible working parents can claim an additional 15 hours of childcare per week, for 38 weeks each year. This is on top of the universal entitlement of 15 hours.

Some providers allow parents to 'stretch' their offer. This lets you take fewer hours per week, but for more weeks of the year.

Working parents include those who are self-employed and those employed on zero hours contracts. Parents are expected to be eligible, if they meet one of these criteria:

  • both parents are working or one is working in lone parent families. This will be defined as earning the equivalent of 16 hours per week on national minimum wage (or national living wage). This is subject to a maximum income threshold of £100,000 per year per parent;
  • both parents are employed, but one (or both) is temporarily away from the workplace on:
    • parental leave;
    • maternity leave;
    • paternity leave;
    • adoption leave;
    • or statutory sick pay.
  • one parent works and one gets carers allowance (or carer element of Universal credit). Or, one parent works and one is disabled or incapacitated (based on specific benefits).

You need to open an online 'Tax-free' childcare account. You can also check if you are eligible at the same time. If you are, you will receive an 11 digit code. It is recommended that you apply as soon as possible for their eligibility code, to avoid missing the deadlines.

Child’s 3rd birthday falls between: Ideal time to apply Deadline for receiving code from HMRC 30 hour place can start from:
1st January - 31st March January 31st March April (Summer funding period)
1st April - 31st August June 31st August September (Autumn funding period)
1st Sept - 31st December October 31st December January (Spring funding period)

To check your eligibility and obtain your code, visit: Childcare Choices. When you get an eligibility code, it is usually valid for about 3 months. You will need to reconfirm your code before your ‘code end date’. You should receive a text message or email reminder to do this, from HMRC. If you forget to reconfirm or you are no longer eligible you will fall into a ‘grace period’. This allows you to keep your childcare place for a period of time. Your provider can advise you about your grace period. If you need help with your 30 hours application, please call the HMRC Customer Interaction Centre on: 0300 123 4097.


How do I get these sessions

  1. Search the Childcare providers database for a list of funded early education providers;

    When you know where you want your child to go, ask the provider to register them for their funded place. If you are entitled to a place, you need to show your HMRC 11-digit eligibility code to your provider;

  2. The manager at the setting will send a claim for your child to the Early Years Learning and Childcare team. They will then allocate them the funding for your child's early education and childcare sessions.



  • Username Early Years Learning and Childcare Team
  • Email
  • Address
    Town Hall
    HX1 1TP

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP): Who's eligible

Some 3 and 4 year olds, who receive the funded early education entitlement, are eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). This is if you get one of these welfare benefits:

  • Income support;
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance;
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance;
  • support from NASS (National Asylum Support Service) under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999;
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit;
  • Child Tax Credit (with no Working Credit) with an annual income of no more than £16,190;
  • Working Tax Credit run-on;
  • Universal Credit, where the parent has an annual net earned income equivalent to and not exceeding £15,400. This is assessed on up to three of the parent’s most recent Universal Credit assessment periods.


Children are also eligible, if they:

  • have been looked after by Calderdale Council for at least one day;
  • have been adopted from care;
  • have left care through special guardianship;
  • are subject to a child arrangement order, setting out who the child is to live with (formerly a residence orders).


For more details, please read: PDFEarly Years Pupil Premium [PDF 802KB] .

See also