Childcare in Canterbury

Ashford Road, Chartham, Canterbury

Kent, CT4 7HN

01227 732124

Free Early Education for 2 to 4 year olds

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year. Some 2-year-olds are also eligible. For some families this will increase via successful application to 1,140 hours for 3 & 4 year olds.

3 to 4-year-olds

You can start claiming free childcare after your child turns 3. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child’s birthday 1 January to 31 March - you can claim the beginning of term on or after 1 April

Child's birthday 1 April to 31 August - you can claim the beginning of term on or after 1 September

Child's  birthday 1 September to 31 December -  you can claim the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Example Your child was born on 15 February 2012. They can get free early education and childcare from the start of term following 1 April 2015.


Some 2-year-olds in England can get free early education and childcare.

You must be getting one of the following:

Income Support
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
tax credits and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Universal Credit

Children are also entitled to a place if:

they’re looked after by a local council
they have a current statement of special education need (SEN) or an education health and care plan
they Disability Living Allowance
they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If your child is eligible, you can start claiming after they turn 2. As above, the date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Guidance on ‘Stretching’ Free Early Education for 2, 3 & 4 Year Olds

 You also have the option of offering 'stretched' hours for free early education over 48 weeks rather than the standard 38 weeks. If you have not yet done this or would like to know a little more about it, this guidance should provide the information you need.

•An eligible child’s funding year will begin in the academic term following their second or third birthday (in line with the dates dictated by the Department for Education) and will be capped at a maximum of 570 hours per year. If a parent chooses to only take one or two terms of funding, they will not be able to access the full 570 hours.

• 15 hours spread over 38 weeks equals the full 570 hours. However, a ‘stretched’ place of 12 hours over 48 weeks equals 576 hours which exceeds the maximum entitlement by six hours.

• Funding is not available for these additional six hours and it is important that your child does not exceed their maximum entitlement of 570 hours.

• In the case of you taking up the ‘stretched’ offer, if you will exceed you free early education hours have the option of either (a) removing your child from the setting or (b) paying for the additional six hours. The terms around these extra six hours must be agreed between Snowflakes Day Nursery and yourself at the time you sign the Parental Declaration.

• There are two Parental Declaration forms. Please ensure that you complete the one clearly marked ‘Stretched Offer’.

• You may decide you want to change your pattern of receiving free early education, it is important to ensure that you do not exceed 570 hours.

Pattern of Delivery

Snowflakes Day Nursery offers morning or afternoon sessions (a session is 5 hours) or a full day which consists of two sessions. Morning sessions are from 8am until 1pm. Afternoon sessions are from 1pm until 6pm. Full day sessions run from 8am until 6pm.

Those using Free Early Education hours can:

Take their 15 hours either in three x 5 hour morning or afternoon sessions or a combination of a full day (10 hours) and an am or pm session (5 hours).

Those benefiting from using the ‘stretched’ offer of 12 hours per week can use their hours as either three separate 4 hours sessions (9am until 1pm or 1pm until 5pm) or one full day (9am until 5pm) totalling 8 hours then the remaining 4 hours would be in a third session of either 9am until 1pm or 1pm until 5pm). This would allow you to have totally free childcare for your 12 hours ‘stretched’ offer. If you wanted to expand on these times to do from 8am or until 6pm for the full opening hours of the nursery then wrap around care would need to be paid for by you. Any hours of care over the Free Early Education entitlement would also require the £100 care deposit.

Availability of places in the nursery for both Free Early Education and paid for day care are subject to availability and the nursery policies and procedures.

30 hrs childcare from September 2017

From September 2017, the Government have introduced a further 15 hours of Free Early Education to help support working families. Thats a total of 1,140 hours per year at no cost to you!

Due to our user friendly delivery pattern and ample space available in the nursery, we are able to fully support your childcare needs including the extended 30 hours Free Early education.

Our delivery pattern of the 30 hrs childcare is up to 10 hrs per day 8am until 6pm, over a 3 day period if you are looking for term time only (38 weeks a year) or if you are looking to stretch your funding over 48 weeks (through school holidays) then we would allow you to use 8 hrs per day 9am-5pm over a 3 day period.

You can of course have more care over and above 30 hours at an extra cost for wrap around care.

We would require a refundable deposit of £100 to secure your space in the nursery.

To claim up to 30 hours of free child care, we would need to complete all paperwork and local authority checks prior to your child starting with us. Please be aware, all paperwork and checks must be satisfactorily completed prior to the start of a new term before your child can benefit from the extended free hours.

If you are interested in using any part of the Governments Free Early Education including the 30 hrs of Free Childcare, call us on 01227 732124 to arrange a viewing of our nursery. To help you out jus that little bit more, we would also be willing to accommodate up to just the extra 15 hours if you are already using the universal 15 hours at another setting.