Funding 2 – 4 year olds

Funding for 3 to 4 year olds

All 3 and 4 year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.

These can be taken as several nursery (not out of school club sessions) sessions, 5 morning or grouped together to make full days. Any extra hours over the 15 hours will be chargeable at the hourly rate of £4.95 per hour.

At Hormead Hedgehogs we also cater for children on the 30 hour free childcare scheme. Parents of 3 and 4 year olds will need to meet the criteria in order to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare. Please visit to apply.

The date your child can start funded sessions depends on your child’s birthday.

Child’s 3rd birthday When they can start
1 January to 31 March The beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August The beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December The beginning of term on or after 1 January

Eligibility for 2-year-olds

Your 2-year-old can get free early education and childcare if you get one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order


Fees for additional hours and sessions not eligible for funding are invoiced and payable during the first two weeks of term; we accept childcare vouchers. We have a policy covering our procedure for non-payment of fees and this is available alongside all of our current policies for the setting.

Get more information about free childcare

You can get more information about free early education and childcare from Hertfordshire County Council.