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Free early learning for under fives (Free Early Education Entitlement - FEEE)

All 3 to 4 year olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free childcare per year. This is called 'Nursery Education Funding’ (NEF) or ‘Free Early Education Entitlement’ (FEEE) and is usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.

Some 2-year-olds whose families are on low incomes, or if the child is in care or has special needs, are also eligible.

From September 2017 parents of all three and four year olds will be able to claim a further 15hours of free chilcare totalling 30hours free childcare for 38weeks per year.

For more information visit https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits your 2 year old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’) or
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)

A 2 year old who you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have either:

  • leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds or
  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)

If you have any issues accessing your child’s Free Early Education Entitlement - FEEE, for example because you believe:

•        the provider is charging you inappropriately

•        the provider is charging extra, where the child has SEND

•        the provider is rationing places for any reason;

and you have not had a satisfactory reply from the provider, then contact us by writing to us, calling us or emailing us.

City of London Family and Young People's Information Service

PO Box 270

Guildhall

London

EC2P 2EJ

T: 020 7332 1002

E:  EEYService@cityoflondon.gov.uk

W: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Free Early Learning For 2 Year Olds

Your 2 year old can get 15 hours of free early education and childcare a week if you get one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit (with an annual net income of no more than £15,400 if your child was born on or after 1 January 2016)
  • Tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).

Additional eligibility criteria

A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they’re looked after or in care
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
  • they get a Disability Living Allowance.

If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits, your 2 year old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’) or
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)

A 2 year old who you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have either:

  • leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds or
  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)

If any of the additional criteria above apply to you or your child and you are a City of London resident, you should contact the City of London Families Information Service at EEYService@cityoflondon.gov.uk and we will be able to confirm your eligibility for free childcare.

When can my child have a place?

A child born between

Can have a place from

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

How do I choose a childcare provider?

The free place can be offered by any childcare setting judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted or those who are newly registered and have not been Ofsted inspected as yet.

There are no other costs but you might be asked to provide wipes, nappies and a change of clothes. You can provide your child with a packed lunch if you do not wish to purchase a meal from your childcare provider.

You may find it helpful to visit some childcare providers, to help you decide where is best for your child. Recommendations from other parents can be helpful, but remember that each child is different, and what suits someone else's child may not be right for yours.

Visit the Family and Childcare Trust website for their handy page on five steps to choosing childcare

All registered childcare providers are inspected every few years by Ofsted, who assess how well they are doing. You can see all the reports on the Ofsted website or you can ask the provider to show you their most recent report.

We cannot guarantee that your chosen provider will have spaces available, or can provide the hours that you need, but you should find something to suit you within your local area.

If you need any support to identify the most suitable place for your child please call the Family Information Service on 020 7332 1002

Free Early Learning For 3 and 4 Year Olds

All 3 to 4-year-olds can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, equivalent to the school term time.

The free hours can be claimed from the term following your child's third birthday until they are of school age.

This means:

A child born between

Can have a place from

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

You can use this funding at most Ofsted registered childcare providers - please check to make sure they accept the funding before you enrol.

How can I use the free hours?

If your child attends more than the free hours per week, you will be expected to pay the difference to the provider.

You are entitled to just take up the free hours at the provider of your choice if the provider has vacancies and can accommodate your child.

The provider must notify you when you register, if your requirements exceed the funding limit.

There will be a minimum and maximum number of free hours that a provider can offer on one day but this may vary between different providers.

Depending on your provider you may be able to stretch the hours over the year.

You should discuss with the provider how you want to take the hours to best meet your needs.

Can I use more than one childcare provider?

Your child can attend more than one provider and, as long as they both do not exceed the maximum number of free hours per term they will be funded. You will need to ensure that both providers are aware that your child is also attending elsewhere.

How do I register my child?

When your child is eligible, you should apply directly to the childcare provider of your choice. You can obtain a list of early year’s providers from the Families Information Service.

Once you have decided on your provider and agreed the hours and days your child will attend, the provider will ask you to complete and return to them the parent declaration form.

How is the funding paid?

We will pay your childcare provider directly.

 

What if the group asks for extra money?

Some groups charge additional fees for extra services but they must make it clear to you what these are (e.g. nappies, lunch, etc.); you cannot be charged for the free hours.

What help can I get if I can’t afford to pay for the extra attendance?

All parents can claim Child Tax Credit and if you work more than 16 hours per week, you may be eligible to claim Working Tax Credit and the Childcare Element.

Use the childcare calculator to check what help you can get with childcare costs.

If you are a City of London resident, you might be able to apply for the Childcare Accessibility Scheme. (put link to leaflet)

What happens when my child starts in reception class?

When your child starts in reception their free early learning will happen in the school and they are no longer entitled to funding at another provider.

Can I use a provider in another borough?

Your child can attend providers in another borough but it will be funded by the council where the setting is registered.

Free 30 Hour Childcare

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