Free places for 3 and 4 year olds

All children are eligible for a free place of 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. Your place starts from 1 September, 1 January or 1 April after your child's third birthday. This is a total of 570 hours over the year and are called universal hours. 

Working parents may be entitled to an additional 15 hours per week. These are called extended hours and make up the 30 hours childcare scheme. To find out if you qualify, see 30 hours free childcare eligibility criteria. There is a central government application process  for the extended hours and you need to get an eligibility code so that the provider can claim for these hours. Find out how to apply for 30 hours free childcare.

How do I find a place for my child?

There is a choice of providers such as a school nursery class, preschool playgroup, private day nursery or childminder. You should find your own place by searching approved providers on the Trafford Directory. If you need support finding a place to meet your needs contact the Family Information Service on 0161 912 1053.

How do I claim my free hours?

Your early education provider willl claim the free hours on your behalf. Parents and carers do not need to complete a funding declaration form.

Your free place will continue until your child starts in reception class which is from the September after their 4th birthday.

How do I receive my hours?

The 15 free hours are for 38 weeks of the year which is known as term time. This is a total of 570 hours over the year. It is up to your childcare provider to confirm how they can offer you the free hours. This means that the number of hours in a session and the days available may be different at each provider.

Some providers who are open all year may let you use less hours per week over the full year. You may find this is an easier way to work out any payments you need to make to your provider for additional hours or services. Talk to your provider about the options they offer. 

Will my hours be completely free?

Your funded hours will be completely free. The provider may charge for additional hours, consumables, meals and extra curricular activities but these should be offered as an option and not as a condition of your place. Any additional charges should be agreed in advance and  clearly visible on your invoice. You may be asked to complete a parent / carer contract to ensure your provider receives the correct information to claim funded hours.

How do I change my provider?

Children can change their early education provider at the start of each new term. Parents / carers should ensure that their previous provider is aware they are intending to leave and discuss any notice period with them in line with their contract. Your new provider will claim your free hours on your behalf.