Free childcare for three and four year olds

All three and four year old children can get 15 hours per week of free childcare and early years education, for 38 weeks per year. This is a total of 570 hours of free early education each year.

Free entitlement

Your child can start free childcare in the term following your child’s third birthday, for a maximum of six terms before your child’s fifth birthday. This offer is fully inclusive of all children.

A child born on or between:Will be eligible for a free place from:
1 April and 31 August 1 September following their third birthday
1 September and 31 December 1 January following their third birthday
1 January and 31 March 1 April following their third birthday

The 38 weeks are generally split into terms, which are closely linked to school terms.


Many providers only operate during term times but parents can choose to access their child’s free entitlement at a provider that is open all year round and take fewer hours each week. Spreading the free entitlement evenly over the year is a flexible option, particularly useful for working parents.

You can use the free childcare at;

Most childcare providers in Peterborough participate in the free entitlement scheme, however not all childminders offer funded places.

How to claim

You will be asked by the childcare provider to complete a form and they will claim the funding for your child’s hours from us.

You can choose to only use the 15 free childcare hours and childcare providers cannot insist that you 'add-on' extras such as food costs or additional hours of childcare.

If you would like more information about your child’s free entitlement to childcare, please contact Peterborough's Families Information Service by contacting our customer services or by emailing

Additional help

Further information on help with childcare costs can be found on the website.