Free early education (2, 3 and 4 year olds)

Universal 15 hours free childcare and early education for 3 and 4 year olds

15 hours a week of free nursery education

All children are eligible for 15 hours a week of free nursery education starting from the term after their third birthday. This is part of the Government's early education funding scheme, also known as the Early Education Entitlement.

Early Education can be provided in a wide range of settings including:

  • community nurseries
  • voluntary aided church nurseries
  • academy nurseries
  • foundation nurseries
  • day nurseries, pre-school playgroups and independent schools
  • registered childminders 

Funding will continue until your child goes into a reception class at an infant or primary school. In Kingston this is usually in the September of the school year before they reach their fifth birthday.

To find out more about the nurseries and childcare settings available in the borough see our section on Nurseries.

When does my child get free nursery education?

Children who turn three on or between:

  • 1 April and 31 August are eligible from the autumn term starting in September
  • 1 September and 31 December are eligible from the spring term starting in January
  • 1 January and 31 March are eligible from the summer term starting in April

Apply for early education funded places

Nursery classes in schools

To apply, contact the school for an application form. 

You can also apply for a place in a school nursery in another borough. Closing dates for nursery applications and how to apply may be different in other boroughs. Check the borough website and with the chosen nursery school to find out.

State-maintained nursery class or school

If your child attends a state-maintained nursery class or school, this is their funded part-time early education place. This means that you can't get funding for any hours they spend in a private or independent nursery or childminder during the same term.

Day nurseries, pre-school playgroups, independent schools and registered childminders in Kingston

Search our Family Services Directory for providers that offer early education funded places and apply to them directly. There is no set time for doing this but we advise that you register your child in good time for the best chance of getting your child a place with your chosen provider.

Private or independent nursery, preschool playgroup or childminder

If your child attends a private or independent nursery, preschool playgroup or childminder, funding for their place is paid directly to the childcare provider. Your provider will apply for the funding at the beginning of the term. They will ask you to complete a parent declaration form when it is time for them to submit their funding claim to us. You should discuss funding with your provider before your child becomes three years old and ask them to explain how it will be offered to your child and any other information you need to be aware of, such as changes to fees etc.

The nursery or the childcare provider may ask you for some added information about your income or your child. This is to find out if they can claim EYPP funding based on your child's place. Find out more about EYPP funding.

For further information, read our Nursery Education in Kingston upon Thames booklet (download from this page).