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Changes to nursery and pre-school childcare


The March 2023 budget announced changes that will help parents to return to work, or increase their working hours, following parental leave. This includes providing increased funded childcare for eligible parents with children aged nine months to four years.

The changes start from April 2024 and will be gradually introduced to allow childcare providers to prepare. Our early years team are working closely with providers to make sure they are ready, and that there are enough providers to meet demand.

The table below shows current entitlement, along with dates when the new entitlement will start.

TimeframeWhat three to four year olds getWhat two year olds getWhat children nine to 23 months get
Now

All get 15 hours - see 15 hours free childcare for three and four year olds, or 30 hours if eligible - see 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds

15 hours if eligible - see Funded childcare sessions for two-year-oldsNone
From April 2024

All get 15 hours - see 15 hours free childcare for three and four year olds, or 30 hours if eligible - see 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds

15 hours if eligible - see Funded childcare sessions for two-year-olds

New: 15 hours for eligible working families. Visit Childcare Choices to find out more and apply (applications open 2 January 2024). 

None
From September 2024

All get 15 hours - see 15 hours free childcare for three and four year olds, or 30 hours if eligible - see 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds

15 hours if eligible - see Funded childcare sessions for two-year-olds

15 hours for eligible working families. Visit Childcare Choices to find out more and apply (applications open 2 January 2024). 

15 hours if eligible
From September 2025

All get 15 hours - see 15 hours free childcare for three and four year olds, or 30 hours if eligible - see 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds

30 hours if eligible30 hours if eligible