Eligible children can have up to 570 hours a year usually during school term-time for 15 hours each week. Some providers offer free places during the school holidays where the hours are spread across the year by taking fewer hours each week, supporting working parents during the school holidays and providing consistency for children.

You can get free places from a range of learning and childcare providers including:

  • Childminders
  • Day nurseries
  • Pre-schools and playgroups
  • Schools with nursery provision

This is known as approved childcare.

Why is it important?

Research shows that children learn more in the first five years of life than at any other time, this is when the foundations of their future learning begin. Attendance at a high quality early learning and childcare setting supports this.

What will my child learn?

Your child will learn to speak and listen, take turns, share, help other children, make friends and do things for themselves. Your child will take part in lots of different activities including indoor and outdoor play.

How will my child learn?

Children learn through playing, the things they learn in an early years setting will help them when they start school and as they get older. They will learn by trying new activities, learn new skills by copying other children and adults which supports children's natural interest and desire to learn.

What are the long term benefits for my child?

Early learning helps to give children the best start in life and promotes lifelong learning. If your child needs extra help to support their health, learning and development, staff in the setting can help you to access specialist support and advice. Getting this help early supports your child to achieve their potential.

Want to know more about the benefits for your child?

Watch How every child can thrive by five to learn more.

When your child is eligible for a free place

If you receive one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • Tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less 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)

A child can also get free early learning and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • Are looked after by a local authority
  • They have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • They get disability living allowance
  • They've left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
  • Has a child protection or child in need plan

Apply for free learning and childcare

Only complete this form if your child was born between 01/01/2020 and 31/03/2021.

Paperclip To complete this form you will need to log in or create an account on the Parent Portal and provide the following:

  • Your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance Number or National Asylum Support Service (NASS) Number
  • Child's name and date of birth

Clock Completing this form takes around 10 minutes

Apply online

If your child receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA), has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), has left care through a Special Guardianship order, Child Arrangements order or Adoption or has a Child Protection or Child in Need Plan please Contact the Kirklees Family Information Service (FIS) to apply.

After you have applied

When your child can start their free place
If your child's 2nd birthday is between Their free place can start from
1 January and 31 March The start of the Summer term beginning on or after 1 April
1 April and 31 August The start of the Autumn term beginning on or after 1 September
1 September and 31 December The start of the Spring term beginning on or after 1 January

Children from families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), subject to these maximum income thresholds:

  • £26,500 for families outside London with 1 child
  • £30,600 for families outside London with 2 or more children
  • £34,500 for families within London with 1 child
  • £38,600 for families within London with 2 or more children

Which groups fall under NRPF:

  • Those who have Claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
  • Failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’ )
  • Families who have a right to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • Families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
  • Chen carers (primary carer of a self-sufficient EEA national child)
  • Families holding a British National Overseas visa (BNO)
  • Work Visa holders
  • Student Visa holders
  • Those with no immigration status
  • Those with a UK Ancestry Visa
  • Those with temporary protection status under Section 12 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • Those with pre-settled status who do not meet the qualifying right to reside test

Help with childcare costs

Find out what other Help you could get with childcare costs. .

If you are not satisfied with your child's free early education and care place

  1. Your childcare provider should have a clear complaints procedure made available to all parents which should also include a procedure for parents who are not satisfied their child has received their free early education entitlement in the correct way, by this we mean in accordance with the law or as set out in the current Early Education and Childcare Statutory guidance for Local Authorities.
  2. If you have made a complaint to your childcare provider about your child's free early education entitlement and the matter has not been resolved with your provider then you can make a complaint to the Council, in writing, to:
  3. The Council will investigate your complaint and provide a written response within a reasonable timeframe.
  4. If you are not satisfied with the way in which your complaint has been dealt with by the Council or believe the Council has acted unreasonably, you can make a complaint to the Local Authority Ombudsman . Such complaints will only be considered when the local complaints procedures have been exhausted.

Contact the Family Information Service (FIS)

  • Phone 01484 414887
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