Early education and childcare for three and four year olds

All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early education and childcare sessions per week for 38 weeks of the year.  Additionally, some three and four year olds, with working parents are also entitled to a further 15 hours Extended Free Entitlement.

When can my child start receiving the sessions?

The entitlement starts the term after the child's third birthday and will continue until they start school or reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday).

Free education eligibility three and four year olds is detailed below:

  • A child born on or between 1 April and 31 August is eligible for a free place from 1 September following their third birthday

  • A child born on or between 1 September and 31 December is eligible for a free place from 1 January following their third birthday

  • A child born on or between 1 January and 31 March is eligible for a free place from 1 April following their third birthday

What do I do next?

For a list of providers, please use the Bury Directory childcare search below. You should then contact your chosen provider to discuss your requirements.

You may have some choice as to how and where you take your free childcare place, but this depends on who has vacancies, how they can be delivered and must be within the set limits below:

  • No session longer than ten hours (although no longer than six to seven hours is considered best practice)

  • No minimum session length (subject to the requirements of registration on the The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills - OfSTED Early Years Register).

  • Not before 6.00am or after 8.00pm

  • Maximum of two sites in a single day

30 hours' Extended Free Entitlement (EFE) for three and four year olds

From September 2017 working parents have been able to claim 30 hours free education and childcare as long as they meet the criteria. This comprises of 15 hours EEC (as above) plus 15 hours Extended Free Entitlement (EFE)

For more information for parents and providers on 30 hours' Extended Free Entitlement for three and four year olds, please visit Childcare Choices 

Alternatively, use the contact area to contact us.    

For details of providers who deliver two, three and four year old funded places please see the relevant category in the Bury Directory childcare search below.

How does it work?

The provider you choose will receive the payment for the free sessions directly from us. Providers must allow children to access their place completely free. This means that you must not be asked to pay any registration or administration fee or made to purchase extra services such as additional hours, food or uniform unless you choose to do so.

Once your child has a place and providing you are happy with the placement, your child will remain with that childcare provider until they start school.

I am a registered childcare provider, what do I do next?

If you would like to be included in Bury's directory of EEC providers for two, three and four year olds please see Information for registered childcare providers.

Contact for Early Years Funding