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Funded Childcare for 2,3 and 4 year olds

On this pageChildren in nursery

Childcare for two year old children
Early Education for three and four year old children
Entitlement for additional 15 hours for three and four year old children
If you need help to find a childcare place

Childcare for two year old children

From the term after your child turns two, he or she might be able to have up to 15 hours per week free flexible childcare, for 38 weeks  per year. This is called the Free Early Education Entitlement and it is paid for by the Government.

You can claim a free place for your child if you receive one or more of the following:

  • Working Tax Credits and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit 'run on' - the payment you may receive for a further 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment or Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit - provided you have an annual income of no more than £16,190
  • Universal Credit – For places starting in the summer term of 2018 (on or after 1st April 2018), or any subsequent term, if a parent is entitled to Universal Credit they must have an annual net earned income equivalent to and not exceeding £15,400
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The 'Guaranteed' Element of the State Pension Credit
  • Child receives disability living allowance
  • Child has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or is on an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC )plan
  • Child is looked after by a Local Authority
  • Child has left the care of a Local Authority through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order
  • Children of Zamrano Carers
  • Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private/family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human rights
  • Children of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (the 1999 Act)

If you think your child may be eligible you need to complete the online application or call 01253 477854 for further details.   


When your child can start childcare
If your Child's 2nd birthday falls between     He/She will be entitled to a free place from

1  January - 31 March


1  April - 31 August


1  September - 31 December


We will contact you to confirm your eligiblity. 

You will then need to find a childcare provider and check if they have a place available for your child. 

To find childcare in your area please visit FYi directory for 2 year old childcare providers or call 01253 476591. 

Free early education for 3 and 4 year olds 

All 3 and 4 year olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year.

You can start claiming free early education after your child's third birthday. The date you can claim will depend on your child's birthday.
Child's birthday When you can claim 
1 January - 31 March

The beginning of term on or after 1 April

1 April - 31 August

The beginning of term on or after 1 September

1 September - 31 December

The beginning of term on or after 1 January

The free early education can be at:

  • Nursery schools
  • Nurseries on school sites
  • Nursery classes in schools and academies
  • Children’s centres
  • Day nurseries
  • Some playgroups and pre-school
  • Childminders

To start a place you need to register with your chosen childcare provider. Blackpool Council and your chosen provider will need you to complete agreement forms. Your provider will give you the documentation to complete. You will also need to provide evidence of your child's age, usually they will need to inspect your child's birth certificate and take a copy.

To find childcare in your area please visit FYi directory for 3 and 4 year old childcare providers or call 01253 476591

Entitlement for additional 15 hours

There are additional funded hours for working parents of 3 and 4 year old children. Eligibility criteria apply - Not all 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to the additional 15 hours (total 30 hours per week for 38 weeks per year)

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 for additional 15 hours

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

After your application for additional hours

  • 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 code will only be valid for the term after which you apply.
  • 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.
  • It is important that you confirm your status every three months with HMRC via the Childcare choices website. If you do not do this your additional hours funding will cease. 

If you need help to find a childcare place

You can find details of all registered childcare providers online.

If you experience difficulties finding a suitable place please telephone or email us for further help.

Early Years Funding Team

PO box 4, Blackpool, FY1 1NA
Telephone 01253 477854