Free early education for 3 and 4-year-olds
All 3 and 4-year-olds can have up to 15 hours of free childcare each week for 38 weeks a year. Some childcare providers offer 12 hours a week over 48 weeks of the year (up to 570 hours).
To get free hours for your child, you'll need to find a childcare provider who's registered with us as well as with Ofsted. If you're not sure whether they're registered, please ask the provider or call us on 03000 41 23 23 to find out.
You can use your 15 hours:
- between 7am and 7pm
- for a minimum of 2 and a half hours a day
- for a maximum of 10 hours a day
You can split your 15 hours between up to 2 providers, for example a nursery and a childminder. You don't have to use the whole 15 hours if that seems too much.
If you want more than 15 hours, you will need to pay the extra cost yourself.
Our guide to free early education places (PDF, 240.0 KB) will answer some of the common questions you may have about how this works.
If you're using 15 hours a week over 38 weeks
Autumn: 1 September to 31 December - 14 Weeks
Spring: 1 January to last day of the spring holiday - 11 Weeks
Summer: First day of the summer term to 31 August - 13 Weeks
If you're using 12 hours a week over 48 weeks
Autumn: 1 September to 31 December - 16 Weeks
Spring: 1 January to last day of the spring holiday - 14 Week
Summer: First day of the summer term to 31 August - 18 Weeks
Find out term dates in Kent.
30 hours free early learning and childcare
From September 2017, the Government intends to extend the free early learning and childcare entitlement for eligible 3 and 4 year olds from 15 hours to 30 hours a week.