Free early education for three and four year old children

Free early education introduces your child to learning through play based activities in a childcare setting such as a nursery, children’s centre or childminder before they start school.

What is my child entitled to?

Your child can access up to 570 hours per year of free early education from the term after their third birthday until your child starts school.  In Blackburn with Darwen children start school the term after their fourth birthday.

The minimum hours that can be taken per day is 2.5.  The maximum hours that can be taken per day is 10. 

Early years providers offer various models of flexibility.  You will need to check directly with your preferred provider if they can offer the attendance pattern that you require for your child.

How can I claim my child’s free early education?

The way you apply for free early education is slightly different for each type of provider.  For advice and guidance on the application process download the Free Early Education information booklet.

Download the application form.

You will find a full list of childcare providers who are eligible to deliver free early education at Section 5. 

Alternatively, you can drop into your preferred early education and childcare provider and they will give you a copy or contact the Families Information Service helpline on (01254) 667877 or email to arrange to have one posted out to you.

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