Early Education for 2, 3 and 4 year
The free entitlement for 2 year olds offers
free provision for disadvantaged children the term following a
child’s second birthday until the end of the term in which they are
3. The free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds offers universal free
provision, starting in the term following a child’s third birthday
until reaching compulsory school age.
The extended flexible entitlement is 570 hours
a year for 2, 3 and 4 year olds, equating to 15 hours a week, over
a minimum of 38 weeks of the year. It continues to promote child
achievement, whilst also enabling parents to access more flexible
provision, in order to support families in balancing work and
family life, accessing employment or training and helping reduce
How do I get an early education place for my 2 year old
Please follow the link to be taken to the 2YO Entitlement page
for further information on how to apply http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=15706
How do I get an early education place for my 3/4 year old
The County Council must take all reasonable
steps to ensure a free part-time early education place is available
for every child whose parents want one. To meet this need the
County Council has maintained nursery classes at some schools and
also works in partnership with other providers of childcare and
early years education. A list of private, voluntary and independent
providers of early years education is available form the Families
Information Service on 01670 624889 or Freephone 0800 023
What is my child’s entitlement to early education?
The current free entitlement is 15 hours per
week for 38 weeks of the year to be delivered flexibly.
When does my 2 year old child become eligible for the free
Eligible 2 year old children are entitled to
receive free entitlement funding from the start of term following
their second birthday.
Children born in the period 1 Jan – 31 March:
1 April following the child’s relevant
Children born in the period 1 April – 31
August: 1 September following the child’s relevant
Children born in the period 1 Sept – 31
December: 1 January following the child’s relevant
When does my 3/4 year old child become eligible for the free
Places are available for children on a
part-time basis from the beginning of the term after their
third birthday (see table below) and until the end of the
school year in which they have their fourth birthday.
All 3 and 4 year old children are entitled to
receive free entitlement funding from the start of term following
their third birthday.
Table of term entitlement dates
A child born
Will be eligible
for a free place from
April 1st and August 31st
The start of the Autumn Term following their
September 1st and December 31st
The start of the Spring Term following their
January 1st and March 31st
The start of the Summer Term following their
Can my child attend more than one setting?
Only one provider may be used for 2YO
3/4 year old children can attend
a maximum of two providers. Parents
cannot dictate which setting receives the funding for
the Free Entitlement as this will be split pro-rata
between the settings.
How may I take the 15 hours?
The 15 hours can be delivered flexibly in line
with parental demand and the settings capacity to deliver
flexibly. The framework for delivery is:
- No session longer than 10 hours
- No session shorther than 2.5 hours
- Not before 7am or after 7pm
- The full 15 hours over no fewer than 3 days (this would permit
up to 12.5 hours over 2 days)
- A maximum of two providers at any one time
Flexibility models can be obtained from Northumberland FIS.
What if the setting charges more than the funding paid by the
Parents cannot be charged for the 15 hours of
early education provided that the setting is registered with
OFSTED. However, you can be charged for any other services over and
above early education – for example, additional childcare
costs. Parents should be advised by the provider of any additional
costs and an explanation of what they are for, before your child
takes up the place. Settings should provide an itemised bill
stating clearly what is being paid for and what has been received
free. Parents should not be required to pay a registration
fee for accessing their Free Entitlement only. Parents should
not be required to purchase additional services in order to access
the Free Entitlement.
Where can my child access the Free Entitlement?
There are a range of approved providers of
early education in the maintained, e.g. school nursery classes, and
private, voluntary and independent sector (PVIs) e.g. day
nurseries, pre-school playgroups, Children’s Centres and
childminders . If you wish your child to be admitted to one of
these settings you should contact the
Each provider has its own admissions policy
and complaints procedure that you can follow. In addition for
school nursery classes you may appeal to the school’s Governing
Body if necessary.
Details of providers of early education are
available from the Families Information Service (01670 624889
or freephone 0800 023 4440).
What is a pre-reception or introductory class?
In addition to nursery classes a large number
of first schools have pre-reception or introductory classes. If
your child has a fourth birthday that falls between 1 September and
31 December and does not have a place in a nursery class in a
Northumberland school you should contact your local school to see
if they run a pre-reception/introductory class. If the school does
run such classes, these start at the beginning of the Spring Term
for 15 hours per week. Likewise, a child whose
fourth birthday falls between 1st January and 31st March may be
admitted at the beginning of the Summer Term for 15 hours per
week. This is provided that the school runs a pre-reception
Places in these classes are limited. You
should register your interest in a place at the school as soon as
possible. Each school that has a nursery class has its own
admissions policy for the nursery. If unsuccessful in gaining
a place in one of these classes, you should contact the Families
Information Service (01670 624889) for details of other providers
in the area. You may also appeal to the school’s Governing
Body. The school will also have a complaints procedure that
you can follow.
Please Note: A place in a school’s
nursery, pre-reception or introductory class does not guarantee a
place in the school’s Reception class. Parents of children
attending a school’s nursery, pre-reception or introductory class
should be aware that they must submit a preference form for entry
into a Reception class. That preference will be considered
alongside all other applications.
Where else can my child access the Free Entitlement?
There are other providers of early education
in the private, voluntary and independent sector (PVIs) e.g.
day nurseries, pre-school playgroups, Children’s Centres and some
childminders who have recently been approved. If you wish your
child to be admitted to one of these settings you should contact
What happens if I cannot get a place for my 3
or 4 year old in a school nursery class?
Details of other providers of early education
are available from the Families Information Service
(01670 624889 or freephone 0800 023 4440).
In addition, you can appeal to a school’s
Governing Body. The school will also have a complaints procedure
that you can also follow.
Where can I get more information on early years provision?
Detailed information on early education
settings (and childcare places) is available from the Families
Information Service (01670 624889 or freephone 0800 023
Can my child receive their Free Entitlement in a neigbouring
Yes, there are cross-boundary agreements
between neighbouring authorities, which mean your child’s place
will be funded by that authority. If you do not live in
Northumberland but wish your child to attend an early education
provision in the County, the place will be funded by
Northumberland. However, you can be charged for any other services
over and above the early education that is being provided – for
example, additional childcare costs.
For up to date information on all Ofsted registered
Contact Northumberland Families Information
Tel: 01670 624889
Freephone 0800 023 4440