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Childcare and early learning

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Need extra support to find childcare?
Some parents need a helping hand to find the right care for their child. This could be for many reasons, perhaps your child has a disability, or you work unsocial hours? You might have searched on this directory, but still can’t find what you are looking for. If you do need help, our Childcare Brokerage Officer can lend a hand. You can either call our helpline on 01273 293545, or email us at with your request.

Free childcare for two year olds
Some two year olds are now entitled to up to 570 hours of free childcare over the year. This is good news for twos as it helps them learn through play and meet lots of new friends their own age. Find out more about free childcare for two year olds here or read our factsheet, to see whether you are eligible. Two year olds places are available at nurseries, pre-schools and some childminders. Search for childcare settings that offer free places.

Universal entitlement for all three and four year olds
All three and four year olds are entitled to free early learning from the term after their third birthday. Parents are entitled to up to 570 hours of free childcare over the year. There’s no need to apply, just speak to your chosen childcare provider about availability.

Extended entitlement (30 hours free childcare) 
This is for working parents of three and four year olds and doubles the existing universal entitlement of 570 hours per year to 1140 hours. Children are eligible from the term after their third birthday. It is important that you apply online the term before your child is eligible as if you apply any later, your child will have to wait until the start of the following term before they can start in a place. Download our factsheet or apply for the funding on the Government's Childcare Choices website

Children in foster care, where their foster parent/s are working in addition to being a foster carer, can now receive 30 hours free childcare, if their social worker agrees that it is in the best interests of the child.

At Home Childcare Service
If you would prefer childcare in your home, then the At Home Childcare Service may meet your needs.  At Home Childcarers are registered with Ofsted, DBS  (CRB) checked and have a childcare qualification. All of the At Home Carers listed on our directory are also insured and have a current paediatric first aid certificate. You can search our directory for an At Home Childcarer, or contact us if you need some help.

See our Home-based childcare factsheet, for more information and advice on a range of childcare options within your home.


Funding for childcare
Go to the government website Childcare Choices for information on the abovementioned funding as well as Tax Free Childcare.

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