Early Years & Childcare - Funded Early Education

                                          Vicarage Way Children's Centre


There are a range of free entitlements that enable families to have funded early learning places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds. Slough Early Years Service co ordinates information about these entitlements and manages the payments to Early Years Providers for the provision of free places.

Funding Rates for Providers

Rates effective from April 2024

The hourly rate for 2 year old funded places is £9.15

The hourly rate for 3 & 4 year old funded places is £6.27

The hourly rate for deprivation funding is £0.73

The hourly rate for Early Years Pupil Premium is £0.68

The DAF allowance is a one off payment to the setting of £910 for children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance.

Schools, approved Private Voluntary and Independent settings including childminders and children’s centres are funded at the above rates.

2 year old Funded Early Education

  • Your child can get free early education the term after their second birthday if you live in Slough and you get one of these benefits. Once your child has been approved for free early education they will continue to be funded even if your family does not meet the criteria at a later date.

  • 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 1999
  • The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit 
  • Parents are eligible for the two-year-old entitlement if their incomes is £16,190 a year or less, and:
  • Parents are not eligible where they claim working tax credits and child tax credits at the same time.

  • Universal Credit , if a parent is entitled to Universal Credit they must have an annual net earned income equivalent to and not exceeding £15,400, assessed on up to three of the parent’s most recent Universal Credit assessment periods.

  • The children of the following families will be entitled to a free place if their parents are working and meet similar low-level income requirements to others eligible for the scheme (e.g. a household income of £15,400 a year or less after tax), that they:
    • are excluded from claiming public funds as a consequence of their immigration status, or their lack of immigration status; and
    • are in receipt of support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
  • Your child can also get free early education at the age of two, if:

  • they are looked after by a local council
  • they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP)
  • they receive Disability Living Allowance
  • they have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order.
  • Your child will be able to start their free place from the beginning of the term after their second birthday. You can apply in the term of your child's second birthday. If you think you are eligible, please complete an application on the Citizen Portal. Further information can be found in the "apply now" section below.

    Slough Borough council approves a range of providers to offer free early education places to 2, 3 and 4 year old children. These can be found on the Slough Family Information Service website  and include childminders, children’s centres, day nurseries, nursery classes in school, nursery schools, pre-schools and playgroups and private and independent nursery schools. Parents can phone the Family Information Service for information about early years providers on 01753 476589 or email them at FIS@slough.gov.uk.

Parents can find a place for their child by contacting some settings and arranging to visit and have a look around. When you visit it is important to discuss whether the days / times that you require are available in the setting. Your child can take their free early education hours at one or two sites each day but the total hours of universal entitlement will not be more than 570 (15 hours per week for 38 weeks).

Thousands of parents are entitled to free childcare to support them to return to work after parental leave. Depending on how old your child is, you may be able to access between 15 and 30 hours free childcare a week.

From April 2024,  even more parents will be able to access free childcare. This was announced by the Chancellor in the Spring Budget 2023.

Here we tell you about the free Government-funded childcare you can access now, how to apply and what you’ll be able to get in future.

Who can get 30 hours of free childcare?

Working parents or carers of children aged three to four in England are currently entitled to 30 hours free childcare a week.

The childcare provider must be approved – so informal providers such as grandparents don’t count – and the support stops when your child starts reception class.

Some providers may ask you to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

Eligibility depends on whether you’re working, your income, your child’s age and circumstances and your immigration status.

Full details about eligibility requirements can be found at: 30 hours free childcare - GOV.UK.

There are different childcare support schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Who can get 15 hours of free childcare?

All parents of children aged three to four can access 15 hours of free childcare. It doesn't matter how much you earn or how many hours you work.

Some parents of children under the age of three may also be entitled to free childcare.

Currently, parents of two-year-olds can access 15 hours a week of free childcare if they are in receipt of income support benefits, such as Universal Credit, and earn less than £15,400 a year.

You can find out more about it here: Help paying for childcare: Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds - GOV.UK.

When will the 30 hours of free childcare be extended?

At the Spring Budget 2023, we announced that 30 hours of free childcare will be expanded to parents of eligible children over the age of nine months. Changes will start from April 2024.

We’re introducing free childcare gradually, to make sure that providers can meet the needs of more families.

From April 2024, working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare.

From September 2024, 15 hours of free childcare will be extended to all children from the age of 9 months.

From September 2025, working parents of children under the age of five will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare a week.

How to apply for free childcare

If your child is age three or four and you want to access 15 hours of free childcare, you don’t need to make an application as your childcare provider will do this for you automatically.

You’ll just need to show them a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and you’ll also have to sign a declaration form. Talk to your childcare provider directly to find out more.

If your child is three or four years old and you’re eligible for 30 hours of free childcare, you’ll need to fill out an application form online.

If you’re eligible, you’ll get a childcare account and a code which you’ll need to show to your childcare provider, along with your child’s date of birth and your National Insurance number.

You’ll need to reconfirm your details every three months, or your code will expire.

Check your eligibility and apply for 30 hours free childcare at this link.

You can log into your Government childcare account here.

When should parents apply for free childcare?

Parents can make an application at any point in the year. However, to make sure they receive their code, parents should leave plenty of time to apply. The best time to apply depends on when their child turns three – work out when is best at this link.

Parent will be asked to reconfirm they’re still eligible every 3 months. This means that if parents apply at least 3 months before their child starts going to their childcare provider, they’ll need to reconfirm they’re still eligible before they take up a place.

To apply for 30 hours free childcare, parents can sign into your account at this link.

Youtube clips on Early Years funded education: