Early education – free entitlement

Information for parents/carers on free entitlement to early years education and childcare for three to four-year-olds (and eligible two-year-olds) in Northumberland.

On this page you will find information about the free entitlement to early years education for children aged three to four in Northumberland and eligible two-year-olds.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to free high-quality early education, starting in the term after a child’s third birthday until compulsory school age.

The current free entitlement is 15 hours a week (570 hours a year) for 38 weeks of the year. Starting September 2017, eligible families will be able to claim an additional 15 hours free childcare per week, taking their entitlement to 30 hours free childcare a week for 38 weeks of the year (1140 hours a year).

Parents/carers of two-year-olds who meet a range of criteria are entitled to the same amount of free high-quality early years education or childcare, from the term after a child’s second birthday until the end of the term in which they are three.

Interested? Click here to download and read our printable guide, which covers both schemes for parents.

Got questions? Contact us direct via freephone: 0800 023 4440 or read on to find out more.
The Early Years Pupil Premium
Extra funding for your Early Years provider to further enhance the early years provision for your child –supporting their development, learning and care
From April 2015, nurseries, schools, childminders and other childcare providers have been able to claim extra funding through the Early Years Pupil Premium to support children’s development, learning and care.
The Early Years Pupil Premium provides an extra 53 pence per hour for three and four year old children whose parents are eligible. This means an extra £302 a year for each child taking up the full 570 hours funded entitlement to early education.  This additional money could make a significant difference to childcare providers.
The extra funding can be used  in any way a childcare provider chooses to improve the quality of the early years education provided. This could include for example:
  • additional training for our staff on early language
  •  investing in partnership working with colleagues in the area to further expertise
  • supporting staff in working on specialised areas such as speech and language.
It is well documented that high quality early education can influence how well a child does at both primary and secondary school so childcare providers want to make the most of this additional funding. You may be aware if you have older children that a pupil premium has been available for school age children and it has proved to have given a real boost to the children receiving the funding. Childcare providers want to do the same for early years children entitled to this funding.
Is my child eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium?
Your child may be eligible for the EYPP if you receive any of these benefits:
• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Income-related Employment & Support Allowance
• Universal Credit
• Support from NASS (National Asylum Support Service) under part 6 of
the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
• The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
• Child Tax Credit (provided that you are not also entitled to Working Tax
Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190*)
• Working Tax Credit run-on
*current figure at the time of printing.
You may also get early years pupil premium if your child is currently being looked after by a local authority in England or Wales or if your child has left care in England or Wales through:

• Adoption
• Special guardianship order
• A child's arrangement order
If you have any questions, please speak to your childcare provider.
If you have any questions please speak to your childcare provider. Any information you share will be completely confidential. This will not affect any benefits you receive.

**Apply here for 30 hours**


If you experience any problems with the application process please contact childcareservice.localgov@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or call the helpline 0300 123 4097


Tax Free Childcare Information

Childcare Choices
The new Childcare Choices
website provides information on the new and existing Government childcare offers:www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

Members of Northumberland County Council’s Early Years Team got together recently with partners and service users to discuss the 30-hour free childcare pilot and what it means to their role,  families and businesses.


The discussion - which focussed on experiences so far, lessons learnt and what the extended entitlement means to their role - was recorded as a podcast, as part of the County Council’s commitment to feedback on progress in order to support others to be ready for the national roll-out of the scheme in 2017.


Taking part in the discussion was:

Eve Sinclair - Early Years Sustainability Officer

Katie Watson - Early Years Adviser

Carol - A Grandmother of a child using 30 hour provision

Emma Potts - Head Teacher of Prudhoe Adderlane First School

Di Richardson - Owner of Diandjims Nursery in Prudhoe and Hexham


To listen to the full discussion, please click here: https://soundcloud.com/user-320432423/northumberland-county-council-podcasts-30-hour-pilot

Frequently asked questions about free early years education/childcare for parents & carers.

Can’t find the answer to your question?
If you live in Northumberland and your child is two, click here to check they meet the eligibility for free entitlement criteria.

If you’re still unsure, get in touch with us. We can confirm if you will get childcare in the school term that your child turns two (not before): Note: all three and four-year-olds in England are eligible for the free entitlement to early education (the minimum of 15 hours).
We must take reasonable steps to ensure a free, part-time early education place is available for every child whose parents want one.

We have maintained nursery classes at some schools and also work with other childcare and early years education providers.

Access the Childcare Directory here
There are plenty of childcare options available for free as part of the offer including:
  • nurseries
  • playgroups
  • pre-school
  • childminders
Take your pick from our list of approved childcare providers.

Access the Childcare Directory here 

Please note: Some areas of Northumberland have a limited number of childcare places. Therefore, establishing eligibility does not automatically guarantee a place.
Please see our Childcare Directory for a list of approved providers 
There are other providers of early education in the private, voluntary and independent sector, for example:
  • day nurseries
  • pre-school playgroups
  • children’s centres
  • some childminders who have recently been approved
If you wish your child to be admitted to one of these settings, you should contact the manager/leader.
We want to help you to make an informed choice about your child’s early education entitlement, to explain the funding process and what to expect in Northumberland. Feel free to contact us direct via freephone: 0800 0234440.

You can also contact your:
Here you will find contact details for the Northumberland families information service team.

For further information on the early years entitlement scheme and how we can help you with all your childcare needs, please get in touch: Northumberland Families Information Service
County Hall
NE61 2EF