Everything You Need to Know About Free Childcare Spaces in Nursery Schools in the United Kingdom

Everything You Need to Know About Free Childcare Spaces in Nursery Schools in the United Kingdom

The UK government brings various schemes for the welfare of underprivileged families across the United Kingdom. One of their popular plans is free childcare or early education for children aged 2, 3, and 4.

Three separate government-funded childcare schemes are running under this programme. Each childcare scheme has different eligibility rules. Therefore, parents need to check which of the schemes is right for them.

In this post, we will cover the eligibility rules for those who are living in England. Let’s get to know about each programme in detail.

15 Hours Free Childcare for 2-year Child

This free early-year education scheme is available to the families living in England. To benefit from this scheme, you must be in receipt of a qualifying benefit. You can visit. gov.uk to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Under this scheme, your child can have up to 15 hours of free early education at full daycare nurseries, schools, childminders, and child day centres. The scheme starts from 1st Jan, 1st Apr, and 1st Sept following your child’s 2nd birthday.

What is not covered?

  • Cost of the meal and other consumables such as sun cream and nappies.
  • Additional activities, such as trips.

15-Hour Free Childcare for three and four-year old Children

All children in England aged between 3 to 4 year can receive free education/care of 570 hours a year. Generally, it is taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the years. However, some nursery schools might ask you to stretch the hours over 52 weeks, using fewer hours per week.


As mentioned above, 15 hours of free childcare is available to all families in England. There are no earnings or work requirements. Your child can take it for use in all government-authorised full daycare nurseries, schools, and childminders.

It will start from, 1st Jan, 1st Apr, 1st Sept following your child’s 3rd birthday.

To claim this benefit, you can contact your local council or childcare provider. Simply visit gov.uk for further information or contact our team at cheekchums.

30 Hours Free Child Care/Education for 3 and 4-year Child

Thirty hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year child is available for working families in England. The scheme will offer 30 hours of free childcare/early education for 38 weeks.

To be eligible for this programme, you and your partner, each should earn at least £139 per week. However, if you and your partner is on maternity and paternity leave, or you’re not able to work due to disability, you could still be eligible.

Note: You’re not eligible for this scheme if you and your partner, each individually earn £100,000 or more. Like all schemes mentioned above, you can avail this scheme at daycare nurseries, schools and childminders.

Remember, the cost of meal, consumables, and additional activities are not available under this scheme.

Cheeky Chums Day Nurseries participate in this scheme offered by the UK government. Cheeky Chums started in 2009 with one nursery and 50 seats, today, we have three nurseries with over 200 full-time places. To know more about us and if you are eligible for free hours of day care at any of our nursery branches, you can visit our website, or call us at 020 8951 5060.

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