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30 hours FREE Childcare for 3 & 4 year olds

All three and four year olds are entitiled to free early education and childcare for 15 hours a week during term time (or 11.5 hours per week spread over 50 weeks including school holidays).

From September 2017 working parents may be entitled to additional free childcare for their three and four year olds.  The additional hours can be taken flexibly throughout the year in a school, academy, with a private childcare provider or childminder.

Flexibility - taking up the additional hours
If you are eligible for the additional hours, you will be able to take up to 1140 hours free childcare throughout the year.  This can be taken term time only or 'stretched' across the year, as follows:

  • Up to 30 hours per week across 38 weeks per year or (term time offer)
  • Up to 23 hours per week across 50 weeks of the year (stretched offer)

Flexible options will need to be discussed with your chosen early years provider as this will vary across different settings and schools.  The additional hours can be split across more than one provider.

If you need more childcare, any additional hours can be purchased from the provider.  Please check with your provider for details of these and any other additional charges such as for meals, snacks or additional services.

Is your family eligible?
From September 2017 the extended free childcare entitlement will be available to parents/carers of three and four year olds where:

  • Both parents are working (or the sole parent in a single parent family) & each parent/carer earns on average:
    • a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) (for under 25 year olds) or national living wage (NLW) (if over 25 years old), and
    • less than £100,000 per year


  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave or statutory sick pay, or
  • One parent is employed and the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring, or
  • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits

How does it work?
Schools, academies, private childcare providers and childminders will be able to offer the Extended Childcare Offer.

To find out who will be offering the Extended Childcare Offer in Knowsley, please visit our childcare website

To confirm your eligibility you need to apply by visiting: , please note that you will be prompted every three months to reconfirm the details you entered on your application are still accurate.

For more information please ring the the Childcare Information Service on 0151 443 5635 or 0800 085 2022 (option 1).

Extended FREE Childcare Leaflet