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Apply for funded early learning - 3 and 4 year olds
Children who were born between 1st March 2016 and 28th February 2018 are entitled to free early learning and childcare in the school term 2020 to 2021:
Funding for nursery places is not renewed automatically. It is important that you apply for a funded place each year or your funding may stop.
Children must be 3 before they start nursery. The date they start depends on when their birthday falls. Children who turn 3:
- between January and February - start in April the same year
- between March and August - start in August the same year
- between September and December - start in January after their birthday
The way you apply for a nursery place depends on a type of nursery setting (council nursery or funded provider) you want your child to attend but you generally complete the same form:
The registration period for a funded nursery place for session 2020 to 2021 closed on 31st January 2020. If you miss the deadline, contact your preferred nursery to apply but we can't guarantee that a place will be available.
To apply for a funded place in a council nursery, please complete the online application during the registration period. The dates can differ each year but generally registration takes place between January and February.
When completing your application, you will be asked to choose three nursery settings. This is because we can't guarantee your first choice of nursery setting.
You will also be asked to indicate the times you would prefer your child to attend a nursery setting. We will try to meet your preferences, but we can't guarantee your preferred times will be available.
As the total amount of funding is up to 1140 hours per year, you will only be able to choose one of the following, up to a maximum of:
- 30 hours per week if the setting is open during term time
- 25 hours per week if the setting is open for 50 weeks per year (in addition to the 2 week Christmas break children will be expected to take 4 additional holiday weeks to make sure they don't exceed their 1140 allocation - if families don't want these 4 additional holiday weeks they need to speak to the setting directly)
Please contact your first choice nursery or use the Early Learning and Childcare Admissions Booklet (pdf 848KB) to confirm their opening times.
To apply for a place at a funded provider, please contact the funded provider of your choice first to find out:
- if they are part of our funding agreement
- when you should enrol your child as they have their own way of processing applications and allocating places
Once your place has been approved by the funded provider you can use our online form to apply for funding. Please enter the same details as your confirmed place as any differences can cause a delay in arranging payment to your funded provider.
If you would like more information or need help completing your application, please contact our Early Years Team.