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Free childcare and early education places

In this section

  1. Free childcare and early education places for 2, 3, and 4 year olds
  2. Does my two-year-old qualify for free childcare and education?
  3. FAQ's
  4. The expansion of funded childcare from April 2024

Free childcare and early education places for 2, 3, and 4 year olds

Funded childcare and early learning places for 2, 3, and 4 year olds

Funded childcare places are expanding for working parents. From April 2024, two-year-olds with working parents will be able to access a place for the first time. Please read this page carefully to make sure that you are applying for the correct form of funded childcare for your child.

Three and four-year-olds (including working parents)

All three and four-year-old children in Stoke-on-Trent are entitled to 15 hours of childcare and early learning each week, usually over 38 weeks of the year during school term time. Some providers may offer you fewer hours over more weeks, for example 11 hours each week over 51 weeks.

You don’t need to apply, just contact your chosen childcare provider to find out more.

Working parents of three and four-year-olds may be eligible for 30 hours of funded childcare. You can check the criteria by visiting the Childcare Choices website.

Apply for 30 hours of funded childcare for working parents

Two-year-olds with working parents

Working parents of two-year-olds are eligible for 15 hours starting in April 2024. You can check your eligibility by visiting the Childcare Choices website.

Apply for 15 hours of funded childcare for working parents

Two-year-olds - For families receiving some additional forms of government support

Parents receiving certain benefits may be eligible for 15 hours of funded childcare for their two-year-olds. You can check the full criteria using the link at the top of this webpage or by following this link.

You can apply using the link below. If you are eligible for the new entitlements from April 2024 because you are a in work, please do not apply using this link and use the correct link above.

Apply for a funded place for my two-year-old

When can my child start?

Funded childcare and early learning is usually available from the start of the term after the child's birthday following the dates in the table below:

If your child was born between

They will be eligible for a free childcare place

January 1 and March 31

from the beginning of the term on or after April 1

April 1 and August 31

from the beginning of the term on or after September 1

September 1 and December 31

from the beginning of the term on or after January 1

Places are available at places including childminders, day nurseries and pre-school play groups. Maintained nurseries, schools and academies also offer provision.