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Free Early Education

What is Free Early Education?


Your child is entitled to a maximum of 570 hours Free Early Education per year. This can be taken in a pattern of up to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks a year. This can be taken over a minimum of 3 days with no session being shorter than 3 hours per day. It can be taken between the hours of 8.30am and 3pm. Currently in Kent the 38 weeks are in line with Kent County Council (KCC) school term dates.


When is my child eligible to receive Free Early Education?


A child is eligible for Free Early Education in line with the Department for Education (DfE) table below: Please be aware that 2 year old children must meet additional criteria, as the offer is not universal for 2 year olds. Full details of the criteria are available here.


A child born on or between will become eligible for a free place from – 1 April and 31 August Start of term 1 (Autumn), in September, following their second or third birthday 1 September and 31 December Start of term 3 (Spring), in January, following their second or third birthday 1 January and 31 March Start of term 5 (Summer), in April, following their second or third birthday. Three and four-year-old children must attend during the Kent designated headcount week to be able to claim Free Early Education for that academic term, (Autumn, Spring, Summer).


Late joiners can claim their Free Early Education providing they meet one of the two following


1. A child moving to Kent from another local authority after head count week

2. A child has not claimed at another setting in Kent during that academic term Eligible 2-year-old children can currently take up their free place at any time during the term. If a child leaves Ladybirds Pre-School mid-term then funding cannot be transferred to another setting until the following term.

For children whose parents both work or for single parents the main carer may be able to claim 30 hours of free entitlement for their child. Please look on the Childcare Choices website to see if you are eligible. You will then need to bring a validation code into pre-school for the manager to validate. For more information please speak to the manager.

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