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Services for Young Children

Free Early Years Education

Some two*, and all three and four year olds are entitled to free part-time early years education (EYE).

The part-time, free early years education places are available in school nursery classes, state or private nursery schools, day nurseries, playgroups or pre-schools and with approved childminders.

Children must attend an early years education service in Hampshire that is registered with the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted), and approved by Services for Young Children.

Some early years education providers cannot offer the full entitlement so it is important for parents to check with their chosen service what they offer. It might that a parent can use more than one provider so that their child can access their full entitlement; and these hours might be 'stretched' to fit in better with parent's working patterns or other commitments.

The Government has produced a statutory guidance for local authorities to deliver the free early years education for two, three and four year olds. The council uses this statutory guidance to develop it’s Early Years Education Payment Funding Terms and Conditions which all childcare providers who deliver early years education in Hampshire are required to comply with. See further details.

*Eligible families of two year olds in Hampshire are also entitled to free part-time early years education. To find out more follow the link: 2 Year Old Offer


The Government is proposing to increase the free childcare offer for three and four year olds from 15 to 30 hours a week from September 2017.

To qualify for the full 30 hours of free childcare, each parent (or the sole parent in a single parent family) will need to earn, on average, the equivalent of 16 hours on the national minimum wage per week, (currently £111.20 per week for those aged 21 or over), and no more than £100,000 per year. (A family with an annual household income of £199,998 would be eligible if each parent earns just under £100,000). Self-employed parents and those on zero-hours contracts will be eligible if they meet the average earnings threshold. The Government intends to make provision to support families where one parent is in receipt of benefits relating to caring responsibilities or has a disability and the other parent is working.

Hampshire is one of the 25 areas that have been successful in becoming a 30 hours childcare Early Implementer Innovator, to support the 8 local authorities who are implementing the scheme prior to the full roll out. The role of the Early Implementer Innovator will look specifically at innovative ways of making sure childcare is accessible to as many parents as possible.

Hampshire will roll out the 30 hours offer in accordance with the Government's statutory requirements from September 2017.

Parents can check their eligibility for 30 Hours Childcare (and for Tax-Free Childcare) by visiting the Government website.


If your child is three or four years old and attending an early years education provider, then they could claim an additional £302 per year for each child to spend on supporting the development, learning and care of it's children by accessing the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) funding. Like the pupil premium available in Hampshire schools for children in Reception up to Year 11, the Early Years Pupil Premium will provide nurseries, pre-schools and childminders with extra funding to support children in achieving the best early years outcomes.

How can the Early Years Pupil Premium help your child and others that attend your child's early years education setting?

The premium can help by providing:

  • extra training for staff

  • support for developing children's speech and language and learning

  • greater links between the early education setting and families

  • further opportunities and experiences to prepare children with starting school

The funding that the provider receives for individual children may be 'pooled' together across other providers and schools in their locality, enabling access to other opportunities such as a specialist practitioner or specific resources that can be effectively shared. Early years education providers will have to effectively demonstrate to (Ofsted) how funds have been used to improve children's education.


For more information and how to apply for free early years education:


Information for Parents - early years education for 2, 3 and 4 Year Olds

Information for Parents - Early Years Pupil Premium for 3 and 4 Year Olds

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