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. This is a total of 570 hours over the year. These are called universal hours. Your place starts from 1 September, 1 January or 1 April after your child's third birthday.

Working parents may be entitled to an additional 15 hours per week. These are called extended hours. To find out if you qualify, see 30 hours free childcare eligibility criteria. There is a different application process  for the extended hours and you need to get an eligibility code. 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?

Once you have found a place for your child, you need to complete a 3 and 4 year old funding declaration so we know where to fund your place.

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?

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 can charge for things like additional hours, consumables, meals and extra-curricular activities but these should not be a condition of your place. Any charges should be visible on your invoice. 

How do I change my provider?

Changing providers can be unsettling for your child but we understand there is sometimes a need to change. There are specific dates during the term that changes can be made and you must complete a form by the deadline date.  Find out more about making an early years funding change.