New entitlement for 3 and 4-year-olds from September 2017

The free entitlement for 3 and 4-year-old children has changed.  There are additional funded hours for working parents.

All families with a 3 and 4-year-old child are still entitled to the universal offer of free early education of up to 570 hours taken throughout the year. 

For example:

  • Up to 15 hours per week if taken over 38 weeks (term time) 
  • 11 hours per week if taken throughout the year

The entitlement for working parents is 1,140 hours per year, such as:

  • Up to 30 hours of funded childcare per week over 38 weeks term time
  • Up to 22 hours if taken throughout the year


Eligibility criteria apply - Not all 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to the additional 15 hours.

In general, families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works) are not be eligible for these additional hours.

To be eligible both parents need to be working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or living wage, and less than £100,000 per year.

There are some exceptions to this; so you may be eligible if:

  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity or paternity leave
  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on adoption leave
  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay
  • One parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring
  • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits
  • Or if you are a single parent and any of the above exceptions apply.

How to apply

You can apply for both the tax-free childcare and the 30-hour entitlement at the same time. Visit Childcare Choices website for more information

After application

  • If you are eligible for the additional funded hours, you will receive an 11 digit reference number, which you should take to your childcare provider.
  • Your childcare provider will also require the National Insurance Number of the parent who made the application - and the child’s name and date of birth
  • Blackpool Council will verify the reference number and confirm with your childcare provider the period that they can fund 30 hours of childcare for.
  • Once you take up your 30 hours place, if your circumstances change and you are no longer eligible for the additional 15 hours, there is a grace period. This is intended to enable children to keep their place for a time, in the case of short-term changes. Blackpool Council will provide your childcare provider with the end date of this period.
  • Parents must confirm their status with HMRC every 3 months in order to continue receiving the additional hours

Information is available if you have not yet chosen you childcare provider or are looking for additional childcare.

Useful links

Blackpool Family Information Service

PO Box 4, Town Hall, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1NA
Telephone 0800 092 2332